UP govt wakes up to plight of Vrindavan widows

After the Supreme Court rap, the Uttar Pradesh government has decided to prepare a work plan to help hundreds of widows living in the holy town of Vrindavan in Mathura district. 

 The plan includes arranging a mess for food and ambulance services when they fall sick, besides arranging funds for performing their last rites in accordance to their religion. According to officials of the ministry for religious affairs here, the government has asked them to ensure compliance of the apex court’s directive in letter and spirit. They, however, maintained that lack of adequate funds was still a big problem to ensure better facilities for the widows, a majority of whom are from other states and had been living at Vrindavan and Mathura after being abandoned by their families. District probation officer O P Yadav said his department had also sent its report to the government making suggestions for improving the living conditions.  “The recommendations have been accepted in principle. We are awaiting the funds,” he said. He said at present there were 1,758 widows living at Vrindavan. A few days back, the Supreme Court had expressed shock over reports that the bodies of the widows were chopped and packed in gunny bags before being disposed of. The apex court had directed the state government to make sure that the widows were provided food, drinking water and health facilities.

 The court’s order came on a petition filed by a voluntary organisation which claimed that the widows had been living in a pitiable condition. The widows, many of them very old, could be seen begging in the narrow lanes of Vrindavan near the temples.  The NGO had claimed that many of the widows had children, who had abandoned them.

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