Yesterday we reported about the really tragic story of little Ferzin Batlivala who died due to starvation.
Here is a follow up article.
In a case before the Bombay High Court on housing for poor Parsis, chief justice Swatanter Kumar incredulously asked: "Are there poor Parsis?"
It may seem like an oxymoron; in reality, there are many in the community like Nisha Batlivala.
Batlivala lost one of her three children — a seven-year-old — to suspected starvation (first reported in a community mouthpiece and later in an English tabloid).
People like Batlivala turn to the community trust — the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) — for succour. The Punchayet on Tuesday said they did as much as was possible to help Batlivala. Stating that they were willing to provide any kind of help to the family, chairperson Dinshaw Mehta said, "We are told that she is at a home of one Sachinwalla who is taking care of the two children. If they need any kind of support, we will support them."
When Batlivala approached the trust three months ago, with her three kids in tow, to get any dues that her husband, who was employed with the BPP, may have not claimed, she was turned down, saying he had claimed all dues. But when she asked for financial assistance, she was apparently asked to furnish proof that her husband was actually a Parsi (Nisha was not born a Parsi). Said Arnavaz Mistry, co-trustee of Punchayet, "She did come and talk to me. In fact I provided her with Rs1,000 cash as immediate relief because she and her children were in very pathetic condition."
BPP is one of the richest community trusts, with a corpus of Rs75 crore and immovable properties worth upward of Rs1,000 crore. The community, which is worried about its dwindling population, recently increased the financial aid to Parsis to produce more children. Officials said Nisha was entitled to Rs3,000 per month, as aid to poor Parsis from the Punchayet, apart from Rs1,000 monthly for bearing a third child.
When questioned why she was not provided with monetary help, Mistry said, "I asked my chairperson. He said she will have to provide proof that her children are Parsis to avail of it. Nisha said that she would come back with the requisite proof to get the benefit of the schemes and so we waited. However, she did not come."