Friday, January 07, 2005

Help sans bias, urges Centre

NEW DELHI: Defensive about reports that Dalits were being thrown out of relief camps set up for tsunami-hit people in the southern states, the Union government on Friday urged that people view the larger picture of the national effort at helping the needy.

Reacting to a newspaper report from Nagapattinam, information secretary Navin Chawla said that the Centre "cannot preclude stray cases of discrimination", at a critical time when both human strength and frailty could come to the fore.

But it did not take away the burden and the seriousness of the national effort that was underway.

The news report said that at some places in the affected areas, Dalit families had been thrown out of relief camps, not allowed to draw water from the common source and also denied food.

The overall death toll on the 13th day came close to the 10,000 mark, touching 9,995, but far short of the initial six-digit speculation. Tamil Nadu remained the worst-hit with 7,941 people dead, while the figure jumped up to 1,196 in the case of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, that experienced a few more aftershocks on Friday.

Source: The Times of India, January 07, 2005

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