Mysuru: Startling revelations from the State Crime Records Department, disclosed under the Right to Information Act, shed light on a distressing toll on the lives of young children in Karnataka. Over the span of four years (2019-2022), an astonishing 6,810 children have suffered unnatural deaths, with a notable increase in mortality reported in 2022.
The reasons behind these tragic incidents encompass a spectrum of distressing events, including cases of mother-child suicides, fatalities resulting from falls into agricultural pits, and instances of child suicide. Troublingly, the majority of these incidents occurred in the bustling state capital of Bangalore, with Belgaum and Tumkur districts closely following as the second and third most affected areas.
Railway Police Stations, spanning multiple districts across the state, have recorded 406 cases related to these untimely deaths, emphasizing the widespread nature of this crisis. Significantly, the data reveals a fluctuation in the mortality rate, with a decrease observed during the two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, only to rise again in subsequent years.
Further scrutiny of the statistics unveils varying death tolls in different districts. Some, such as Bagalkote, Bangalore Rural, Bellary, Bidar, Chikkaballapur, Chitradurga, Davangere, Dharwad, Hassan, Haveri, Kodagu, Kolar, Koppal, Mandya, Mysore Rural, Raichur, Ramanagara, Shimoga, Uttara Kannada, Yadgiri, and Kalaburagi Rural, reported three cases, while others have witnessed figures crossing ominous thresholds of 100 or even 200.
Expressing profound concern over these alarming figures, M.L. Parashuram, one of the directors of Odanadi organization, an NGO, attributes the spike in abnormal child deaths to factors such as poverty, malnutrition, exorbitant usury in rural areas, and mobile phone addiction. Urging immediate attention from authorities, Parashuram called upon the Child Rights Commission, Child Welfare Committees, and the Women and Child Development Department to earnestly address the issue.
In a plea for intervention, he stressed the need for a comprehensive study and analysis of the death cases to prevent future tragedies. Parashuram emphasized the importance of involving organizations dedicated to the protection of children’s rights in this critical undertaking, underscoring the collaborative effort required to safeguard the well-being of the state’s vulnerable youth.