Selfies with endosulfan victims directive withdrawn

Rights activists and parents of endosulfan victims staging a 'selfie stir' at Kasargod in Kerala to protest against the district collector's directive to take selfies with endosulfan victims. (DH Photo)

A directive of the district collector of Kasargod in North Kerala to officials to take selfies with the Endosulfan affected has triggered a row, forcing the district collector to withdrew it.

Activist and parents of the endosulfan victims staged a 'selfie stir' at Kasargod the other day to express resentment against the directive.

Kasargod district collector Sajith Babu gave the directive earlier this month to the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) supervisors to compulsorily visit each endosulfan victim and enquire about their welfare as there were complaints that many were not getting pension and other benefits. In order to ensure that the supervisors visited each victim at their house, he also directed the supervisors to take selfies with each victim in front of their house and send it to the district Endosulfan cell.

However, this decision has not gone down well with those working for rights of endosulfan victims as well as parents of many victims as they feel that the officials were more interested in taking selfies rather than enquiring about the welfare.

Ambalathara Kunhikrishnan and Muneesa, who have been working for endosulfan affected in Kasargod, told DH that many officials even took selfies of the victims at Anganwadis and Bud schools and even on the way. No proper enquiry of the welfare of the victims were happening. Hence it triggered resentment.

The district collector told DH that the directive to take selfies in front of the victims' house was given to ensure that there were no lapses on the part of ICDS supervisors in visiting each household of endosulfan victims. However, in the wake of certain complaints the directive to take selfies was withdrawn. But the ICDS supervisors were strictly directed to visit each victim at their house and enquire about their welfare.

Meanwhile, sources in the district collectorate said that the decision to take the selfies was also aimed at making the list of endosulfan victims foolproof as there were allegations that many ineligible persons and even deceased persons were still in the list.

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