INDIA: Please take immediate actions to help tuberculosis patients in Varanasi – Uttar Pradesh

Mr. Mohmoodul Hassan, son of Mohammad Hassan, residing at Lohta village, Varanasi district has been suffering from tuberculosis for the past 22 years.  Mohmoodul was diagnosed of having tuberculosis by the Banaras Hindu University Hospital in Varanasi. Mohmoodul is a handloom weaver.  Because of abject poverty and the lack of a proper income due to the downfall of the handloom weaving industry in Uttar Pradesh, particularly in Varanasi, Mohmoodul’s family is finding it hard to make both ends meet. The family has hardly anything to eat. The entire family is suffering from starvation and resultant malnourishment.

Mohmoodul can only find work two to three days each week and only earns about 50 Rupees a day. With this low income he cannot purchase sufficient food to feed his family. Afsana, Mohmoodul’s wife also earns 40 Rupees for the embroidery work she does each week.  Even their ten-year-old son Sadiq helps earn some limited income by weaving, which helps to keep the family alive.

Mohmoodul has only obtained an Above-Poverty-Line (APL) card. The APL card does not allow Mohmoodul to obtain food grains from the ration shop at a subsidised price. Though Mohmoodul had applied for a Below-Poverty-Line (BPL) card, it was denied to him. The village head Mr. Sujeet Kumar was denied a card on the ground that the quota for issuing such ration cards has been temporarily full.

Even though Mohmoodul is suffering from tuberculosis, there are no public health facilities available in Varanasi where Mohmoodul could get free treatment for his ailment. The public health system in Varanasi is not geared up even to provide emergency medical care for the poor.  For example, when Mohmoodul’s wife was in her advanced phase of pregnancy early this year, medical care was denied to her at the Kashi Vidhyapith Primary Health Centre since the family could not pay bribe to the staff at the centre. There is a health insurance scheme launched by the government for handloom weavers. However, membership in the scheme is limited to the members of the Handloom Weavers’ Association.  One of the conditions for joining the Association is ‘not to earn any income other than from weaving.’  As most of the handloom weavers are extremely poor, the above condition disqualifies hundreds of handloom weavers from becoming a member of the Association.

Although the right to health is a fundamental right, Mohmoodul and his family are not alone. There are dozens of other persons who suffer from tuberculosis in Lohta.  Mr. Sirajuddin, Mr. Ilias Ansari, Alias’ son Salman and daughter Parvin, Mr. Rahmat Ali and his wife Ajgari, Mr. Wahamoodul Hasan, Ms. Rehna, Ms. Zubeeda Bibi, Ms. Aswa, Mr. Badruddin, Mr. Mustaquim, Ms. Farjana and Mr. Mohammod Gulam Ali are among the persons who have been identified as suffering from tuberculosis from the same village.  In fact, an estimated 70% of the weavers in Varanasi suffer from tuberculosis. Despite the existence of some governmental agencies with sufficient resources whose specific mandate is to assist tuberculosis patients through programmes like the DOT and to provide treatment, none of the above-named persons have received any kind of assistance from these agencies.

The doctors and other public health officials, on many occasions, refuse to diagnosis tuberculosis in the hospitals, and avoid going to the villages to examine patients who might have tuberculosis.  The doctors in government clinics and hospitals only provide medication for a short period, sometimes for only two days and then tell their patients to obtain further medication from private medical shops.  There have also been situations in which patients diagnosed of having tuberculosis by private doctors were later informed that they are not infected with tuberculosis at government hospitals, with an intention to deny treatment to these patients and reduce work at the government hospitals.  Such criminal negligence of work by government doctors not only results in the death of the patient from the disease, but also allows tuberculosis to be spread in the community.

Tuberculosis being a contagious disease, the presence of such a high percentage of the population suffering from tuberculosis within a limited geographical area is also a threat to the health of others who live within the city.  Estimates suggest that during the past several years the number of persons suffering from tuberculosis among the handloom weaving community in Varanasi is increasing.  This disease must be immediately contained.

The right to health is a fundamental right. So far the state or the central government has not devised any credible plans to identify those weavers who need assistance for health security in Uttar Pradesh.  An officer from the State Handloom Department – who participated in a people’s tribunal on 18 December 2007, jointly organised by the People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights, Action Aid International – India, Bunkar Dastakar Adhikar Manch and the Asian Human Rights Commission –  informed the tribunal and the public that the State Handloom Department has no mechanism to identify those weavers who are in need of assistance and thus any help from the department cannot reach those weavers in need.  Almost all the participants who deposed before the tribunal informed the tribunal that when they approach the government hospitals they are asked to pay money even for taking an x-ray picture.

In these circumstances the undersigned request you to:

1. Take immediate measures to ensure that the persons named above, and their families, receive medical attention provided by the government, at the earliest, for treating their tuberculosis

2. Take steps to initiate an immediate survey conducted by the government to assess and to identify the weavers and their family members suffering from tuberculosis in Uttar Pradesh, starting the exercise in the Varanasi District

3. Direct the state government to take immediate measures so that the weavers who require the services of the Public Food Distribution System receive proper ration cards based on their actual financial status

Yours sincerely,
1 Sirrajuddin – Bajardeeha, Varanasi
2 Naseem Akhtar – Bajardeeha, Varanasi
3 Surendra Prasad – Village Amasaha, Post Office Baanspaar, Maharajgunj
4 Chhote Laal – Village Harpur Mahant, Post Office Pakadi Tribhuwanpur, Maharajgunj
5 Rajendra Prasad – PVCHR Varanasi
6 Ved Prakash Ojha – Brahmnagar, Robertsgunj, Sonbhadra
7 Niyaz Ansari – Urdu Daily, Varis Awadh, Varanasi
8 Mukhtaar -Navapura Chungi, Varanasi
9 Ramji – Lallapura, Varanasi
10 Vijay Kumar – Lallapura, Varanasi
11 Jamalluddin – Bajardeeha, Varanasi
12 Shamimuddin – Bajardeeha, Varanasi
13 Samsudoha – Lohata, Varanasi
14 Khalilulha – Navapura Chungi, Varanasi
15 Moinuddin – Bajardeeha, Varanasi
16 Baddrauddin – Bajardeeha, Varanasi
17 Mohammad Farukh – Navapura Chungi, Varanasi
18 Amar Jamal – Rewadi Talab, Varanasi
19 Akbar Ali – Kaajipura khurd, Varanasi
20 Mohammad Shakeel Ansari – Lallapura, Varanasi
21 Basiruddin – Lallapura, Varanasi
22 Ahmad Abdullah – Gazipur
23 Radhika Devi – Shivrampur, Varanasi
24 Urmila Devi – Shivrampur, Varanasi
25 Munni Devi – Aayar, Varanasi
26 Brijesh Kumar – Shivrampur, Varanasi
27 Gokul – Punwari Kala, Varanasi
28 Aashish Kumar Singh – Aayar, Varanasi
29 Sanjay Srivastava – Ordely Bazar, Varanasi
30 Susheela – Shivrampur, Varanasi
31 Anupam – PVCHR/ SWF/ VOP Varanasi
32 Ram Bharosh – Obra, Sonbhadra
33 Sangeeta Maurya – Mahatma Kashi Vidya Peeth, Varanasi
34 Barkha Singh – Mahatma Kashi Vidya Peeth, Varanasi
35 Irshad Ahmad – Mahatma Kashi Vidya Peeth, Varanasi
36 Anil Kumar – Mahatma Kashi Vidya Peeth, Varanasi
37 Pawan Kumar Upadhyay – Mahatma Kashi Vidya Peeth, Varanasi
38 Shyamdev – Gazipur
39 Brijlaal – PVCHR, Sant Ravi Das Nagar, Bhadohi
40 Ahmad Ali – Dhamaria, Lohata, Varanasi
41 Nasiruddin – Bajardeeha, Varanasi
42 Abdul Majeed – Bajardeeha, Varanasi
43 Mohammad Kaleem – Lohata, Varanasi
44   Mister  Dhannipur – Lohata, Varanasi
45 Samsuddin – Dhannipur, Lohata, Varanasi
46 Anwaar – Dhannipur, Lohata, Varanasi
47 Dr. Pradeep Bhargava – Govind Vallabh Pant Social Studies Institute, Jhoonsi, Varanasi
48 Abdul Bareekh – Dhannipur, Lohata, Varanasi
49 Vikram – Lallapura, Varanasi
50 Hayat Mohammad – Dhannipur, Lohata, Varanasi
51 Aftab Alam Ansari – Dhamaria, Lohata, Varanasi
52 Sister Mariola – AHRC
53 Basil Fernando – AHRC
54 Jack Clancey – AHRC
55 Eugene Soh – AHRC
56 Kammarunnisha – Chandapur, Lohata, Varanasi
57 Md. Ashrafuzzaman – AHRC
58 Moinuddin – Jalalipura, Varanasi
59 Aminnullah – Jalalipura, Varanasi
60 Idrish Ansari – Lallapura, Varanasi
61 Mumtaz Ahmad – Dhamaria, Lohata, Varanasi
62 Iliyas – Dhamaria, Lohata, Varanasi
63 Mohammad Naseem – Dhamaria, Lohata, Varanasi
64 Iqbal Ahmad – Jiyapura, Varanasi
65 Abdul Hasan – Dhamaria, Lohata, Varanasi
66 Baliram – Saraimohana, Varanasi
67 Suresh Kumar – Lohata, Varanasi
68 Bihari – Singhwar, Varanasi
69 Jiyaul Hasan – Gazipur
70 Ramji – Saraimohana, Varanasi
71 Ramsewak – Kamauli, Varanasi
72 Munni Maurya – Dhannipur, Lohata, Varanasi
73 Rahmat Ali – Dhamaria, Lohata, Varanasi
74 Kisun  – Singhwar, Varanasi
75 Prabhu – Saraimohana, Varanasi
76 Daya Shankar – Saraimohana, Varanasi
77 Mohammad Sidique – Dhamaria, Lohata, Varanasi
78 Moinuddin Ansari – Lallapura, Varanasi
79 Ram Chander – Saraimohana, Varanasi
80 Chaturgun – Saraimohana, Varanasi
81 Abdul Rahman Ansari – Dhamaria, Lohata, Varanasi
82 Gulab – Saraimohana, Varanasi
83 Laalchand – Saraimohana, Varanasi
84 Sahu – Singhwar, Varanasi
85 Ram Ashrey – Saraimohana, Varanasi
86 Fakaruddin – Lohata, Varanasi
87 Sanhangu – Singhwar, Varanasi
88 Bachanu – Saraimohana, Varanasi
89 Raj Kumar – Saraimohana, Varanasi
90 Saabu Laal – Saraimohana, Varanasi
91 Ramdhani Kushwaha – Koranw, Allahabad
92 Mohammad Hafeez – Dhamaria, Lohata, Varanasi
93 Iqbal – Dhamaria, Lohata, Varanasi
94   Babulaal Maurya – Dhannipur, Lohata, Varanasi
95 Nisar Ahmad Ansari – Dhannipur, Lohata, Varanasi
96 Amarnath Majhi – B-26/115B,Nawabgunj, Varanasi
97 Laalbahadur – Dhannipur, Lohata, Varanasi
98 Pancham Laal – Barampur, Koranw, Allahabad
99 Hafizullah – Dhamaria, Lohata, Varanasi
100 Jalaluddin – Dhamaria, Lohata, Varanasi
101 Mohammad Naseem – Dhamaria, Lohata, Varanasi
102 Mahmudul Hasan  – Dhannipur, Lohata, Varanasi
103 Mohmmad Shakeel – Dhannipur, Lohata, Varanasi
104 Mohammad Ramjan – Dhannipur, Lohata, Varanasi
105 Rizwan – Dhannipur, Lohata, Varanasi
106 Aftab – Dhannipur, Lohata, Varanasi
107 Sharad Kumar – Saraimohana, Varanasi
108 Nazeer Ahmad – Lallapura, Varanasi
109 Kammarulzamma – Dhamaria, Lohata, Varanasi
110 Ramzan – Lohata, Varanasi
111 Ganesh – Lohata, Varanasi
112 Mohammad Farukh – Lohata, Varanasi
113 Mohammad Ibrahim – Lohata, Varanasi
114 Abdul Ahad – Lohata, Varanasi
115 Shakeela – Lohata, Varanasi
116 Nizammuddin – Dhamaria, Lohata, Varanasi
117 Shamim – Dhamaria, Lohata, Varanasi
118 Jabid – Dhamaria, Lohata, Varanasi
119 Phoolchand Das Dalit – Dhamaria, Lohata, Varanasi
120 Akhtar – Dhamaria, Lohata, Varanasi
121 Guddu Singh – Kerakatpur, Varanasi
122 Jalaluddin – Badi Masjid, Lohata, Varanasi
123 Ramjanam – Dhamaria, Lohata, Varanasi
124 Shahid Jamal – Chandapur, Lohata, Varanasi
125 Ansaar – Arawal, Lohata, Varanasi
126 Gangadeen Patel – Ghamahapur, Lohata, Varanasi
127 Jagdeesh  – Vanwaasi, VOP, Varanasi
128 Kamal Kishore – NHDC, Chowka Ghat, Varanasi
129 Basheer – Lallapura, Varanasi
130 Gulaam Mustafa – Lallapura, Varanasi
131 Lakhan Chilwal – Nainitaal, Uttarakhand
132 Santosh Jadhav – Tandabiradari, Maharastra
133 Prashant – SA 4/2A, Daulatpur, Varanasi
134 Sahabuddin – Jalalipura, Varanasi
135 Mohammad Suhail – Lallapura, Varanasi
136 Abdul Hakeem – Lallapura, Varanasi
137 Gufran Ahmad – Lallapura, Varanasi
138 Zanishar Akhtar – Naipokhri, Lallapura, Varanasi
139 Avinash Pandey alias Samar – Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
140 Renu Singh – Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
141 L.L. Yadav – Sonarpur, Varanasi
142 Bakhtiyar Alam – Lallapura, Varanasi
143 M. Shakeel Reshnia – Jaitpura, Varanasi
144 Ganpati – G TV, Sigra, Varanasi
145 Annu – S TV, Varanasi
146 Mohmmad Iqbal Ansari – Lallapura, Varanasi
147 Anil kumar Srivastava – Office of Assistant Director, Handloom, Varanasi
148 Nishith Gaur – Office of Assistant Director, Handloom, Varanasi
149 Gulam Sarovar – Lohata, Varanasi
150 Bachau – Dhamaria, Lohata, Varanasi
151 Anil Arora – ABHI TAK, TV Channel
152 Bijo Francis – AHRC
153 Samsher Alam – Lohata, Varanasi
154 Lenin – PVCHR
155 Roshan Jaiswal – Sahara TV Varanasi
156 Nabizan – Lohata, Varanasi
157 Maheshanand – PVCHR/GSS, Sonbhadra
158 Siddharth Singh – Mahatma Kashi Vidya Peeth, Varanasi
159 Shruti – SWF/ PVCHR, Varanasi
160 Karmanya Kumar – PVCHR, SA4/2A, Daulatpur, Varanasi
161 Mithilesh – Mahila Adhikar Manch, Chunar, Mirzapur
162 Anup Srivastava – PVCHR, SA4/2A, Daulatpur, Varanasi
163 Jeon Chul Min – 5.18 Memorial foundation, South Korea
164 Vijay Raj Yadav – Chandapur, Lohata, Varanasi
165 Bachau Hashmi – Lohata, Varanasi
166 Ghanshyam Singh – Shivrampur, Varanasi
167 Mohammad Farukh – Harpalpur, Varanasi
168 Mohammad Rafiullah – Bunkar Samiti, Lohata, Varanasi
169 Shanti – Baghwanala, Varanasi
170 Ashok Kumar – Hiramanpur, Varanasi
171 Subhash Chand Maurya – Hiramanpur, Varanasi
172 Mohammad Moosa – PWTN-Uttar Pradesh
173 Mohammad Ibrahim – Lohata, Varanasi
174 Gyan Prakash (Bawal) – Saheed Bhagat Singh Youth Brigade, Varanasi
175 Vinay Singh – Saheed Bhagat Singh Youth Brigade, Varanasi
176 Mukesh Dubey – Saheed Bhagat Singh Youth Brigade, Varanasi
177 Shailendra Agarwal – Kaal Bhairav, Varanasi
178 Nand Laal Master – Loksamiti, Rajatalab, Varanasi
179 Siddique Hasan – Bunkar Dastkar Adhikar Manch, Varanasi
180 Phekuram – Kamauli, Varanasi
181 Ramlal – Shankarpur, Varanasi
182 Ansar – Lohata, Varanasi
183 Ramsewak – Sewon, Chiraigaon, Varanasi
184 Ramji – Shankarpur, Varanasi
185 Mushtaq Ahmad – Lohata, Varanasi
186 Binay Singh – Times of India, Varanasi
187 Nurul Hasan Khan – Dainik Jagaran, Varanasi
188 Khursheed Ansari – Lohata, Varanasi
189 Sewalal – Hiramanpur, Varanasi
190 Jai Kumar Mishra – PVCHR Varanas
191 Anand Prakash – PVCHR Varanas
192 Manoj Kumar Singh – PVCHR, Tanda, Ambedkarnagar
193 Nanhaku Ram – Jairampur, Varanasi
194 Prabhu Narayan – Saraimohana, Varanasi
195 Girijashankar – Jairampur, Varanasi
196 Budhna – Hiramanpur, Varanasi
197 Atwari – Hiramanpur, Varanasi
198 Durga – Hiramanpur, Varanasi
199 Heeramani – Hiramanpur, Varanasi
200 Laalmani – Hiramanpur, Varanasi
201 Durgawati – Hiramanpur, Varanasi
202 Parwati – Hiramanpur, Varanasi
203 Bela – Hiramanpur, Varanasi
204 Sewalal – Hiramanpur, Varanasi
205 Nirmala – Hiramanpur, Varanasi
206 Chabbi – Hiramanpur, Varanasi
207 Babloo – Hiramanpur, Varanasi
208 Jin Ju – AHRC

Asian Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong

Document Type : Open Letter
Document ID : AHRC-OL-036-2007
Countries : India,