Indian Jesuit supports campaign demanding food ‎for poor

2015-10-02 Vatican Radio

A Jesuit priest behind a 2-week awareness campaign to ensure the right to food and work for the poor in eastern India’s West Bengal state, has warned that famine will soon set in if the state government does nothing.  “We want the government to wake up” and realize that food shortages “will inevitably turn into famine” in the coming months, said Fr. Jyothi, the convener of the Right to Food and Work network in West Bengal.   The NGO launched the Right to Food (RTF) campaign on Saturday to force the state government to implement the National Food Security Act (NFSA) to guarantee enough food for everyone.   The campaign will end Oct. 9.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Fr. Jyothi, who is also the president of the Conference of Religious India, said that in many districts in West Bengal, people are starving, while the media is calling it with different names.  He said that when he began work among indigenous tribal women in Bengal in 2003, they had to ask the government for food.  But he has now trained them to use existing laws and government programme to demand their rights. The Jesuit priest noted that floods in 12 districts have wiped out the harvest, creating food shortages that will inevitably lead to hunger and turn into famine if the government does not take appropriate measures.

The Right to Food and Work network, which includes a number of NGOs, also wants the authorities to ensure adequate wages for workers, improve local food production, and provide maternity benefits.  The RTF network wants the authorities to activate the NFSA to provide food to the population. “If the State has money for beautification works, it can find money for something as essential as food”  Fr. Jyothi said.  (Source: AsiaNews) 

(from Vatican Radio)