Citizens for Justice and Peace

A quest for Dignity and Justice Sonbhadra Forest Movement leader calls for protests on July 14

12, Jul 2019 | CJP Team

Forest movement leader and Human Rights Defender (HRD) Sokalo Gond calls for July 14 to be commemorated in the memory of her son who died allegedly because of Hindalco doctors’ apathy.

“The day he died, we went to buy school dress, pencils and everything else for the other children. He was getting fever for some days. I took him to a local hospital [near Majhauli], they said that his blood count is low and asked me to take him somewhere else. In Dudhi too, the doctors expressed their inability to treat him and asked my son to be taken elsewhere. I then went home to get some money because I had no idea how much it will cost.

My son said, Ma ask didi to cook something, it won’t be nice to eat from anywhere else in the night. Then we went to the Hindalco hospital and they took him in. He was admitted for several hours before a doctor even examined him. They kept delaying his treatment. The doctor who would come for the night shift would say that the blood transfer would take place in the morning. The next morning, by 8 am, when the shift was about to change they didn’t do anything. They didn’t even give him any medicines. Then my son started feeling more uncomfortable, asking for our relatives from the village to be called, they took time. He told me, either you are lying or there is some problem. I tried to assure him but his condition kept worsening,”

Sokalo Gond, Sonbhadra UP

Forest rights leader and human rights defender Sokalo Gond has made an appeal to align protests opposing the Supreme Court order on eviction and government’s anti-forest rights stand with that of the martyrdom of her 13 year old son who died in a Hindalco Hospital in Sonbhadra, UP five years ago, due to alleged medical negligence and carelessness.

CJP stands with the millions of Adivasis whose lives and livelihoods are threatened by the shocking order by the Supreme Court. We are working to ensure the forest rights of Adivasis in Sonbhadra, Uttar Pradesh, and to deepen our understanding of the Forest Rights Act and support Adivasis’ struggles across the country. Please support our efforts by donating here.

In 2013, Mithilesh Gond, Sokalo Gond’s son died in Hindalco hospital located in Renukoot, Uttar Pradesh (UP) because of the reported carelessness of the doctors there. Mithilesh was in desperate need of blood but even after twelve hours of being in the hospital and despite the urgency of the situation, the then CMO there, Dr. Pramod Yadav didn’t give blood to the 13 year old boy. An investigation into this matter led to the conclusion that there was indeed carelessness in the manner the case was dealt with. However, no action was taken against the callous doctors. It is alleged that this is a regular phenomenon in the hospital, especially when patients are poor labourers and Adivasis from the nearby areas, who have no option but to knock at the doors of this hospital for the treatment.

When a struggle was waged against this by the All India Union for Forest Working People (AIUFWP), the leading faces of the struggle were charged with false cases under serious charges.

Even today, the struggle for a decent healthcare so that young children like Mithilesh don’t meet the same fate is going on. The forest dwellers, mainly Adivasis and Dalits have to travel far and wide in order to avail even the most basic healthcare services. Even they make it to these public health centres (PHCs) or government hospitals, they are met with apathy and indifference. They are repeatedly fooled for money, as well. The struggle for a decent life of dignity with bare minimal healthcare facilities is real. Every year, Mithilesh’s Shahadat Diwas (Martyrdom day) is celebrated on the 600 acres of Birsa Nagar land that was claimed under the community forest rights.

This year too, his Shahadat diwas will be celebrated on the same land in Majhauli, Dudhi in UP’s Sonbhadra.


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