Patna: A debt-ridden grocery shopkeeper, who was unable to repay the bank loan, has allegedly committed suicide, reportedly killing is wife and a minor daughter in a village in Bihar’s Jamui district. This has generated anger and panic among the villagers.
Suicides of debt-ridden farmers or small-time businessmen is something not common in impoverished Bihar—unlike in developed states such as Maharashtra, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. This is the first such case in the wake of the ongoing economy slowdown that now has hit the rural areas also.
Mukesh Sao, who was in his early 30s, was running a small grocery shop in Tetariya village. He was reportedly depressed, as his grocery shop business—the only source of his livelihood—was not doing well. Several villagers told NewsClick that Mukesh was extremely worried because his grocery shop was not making any profit even after he took a bank loan. “He had to feed a family of six, but his debt was increasing. He was disturbed after the bank issued a notice to him recently to repay the loan, but he was not in a position to repay it. That appears to be the main reason behind this incident,” said Baarhat police station officer in-charge Abdul Halim while speaking to NewsClick.
Halim said that Mukesh had left a suicide note that was recovered by the police. “We found Mukesh’s body hanging from the fan inside the room and bodies of his 27-year-old wife and his eight-year-old daughter on the bed. Three other minor daughters were unconscious and were admitted to a government hospital. They are out of danger now,” he said.
Sub Divisional Police officer Rampukar Singh said that prima facie, Mukesh ended his life by hanging from a ceiling fan and poisoned other members of his family. “Mukesh, before hanging to kill himself, first mixed poison in the dinner on Tuesday night that was consumed by his wife and daughters, but three daughters have survived,” Singh said.
Singh told NewsClick that Mukesh was under extreme stress because of the debt and was unable to repay the bank loan that was increasing day by day. “In his suicide note, Mukesh had made it clear that he was mentally disturbed after he received the notice from the bank regarding the loan.”
Mukesh’s neighbours in the village informed the local police officials that he was not well due to the pressure from the bank.
Last month, a debt-ridden marginal farmer, Manoj Tiwary (50), hadn committed suicide by consuming sulphas tablets in a village in the Gopalganj district.
Tiwary ended his life, reportedly, owing to the pressure from a moneylender. This was revealed Tiwary himself, minutes before he breathed his last in Sadar Hospital on Tuesday. His statement was recorded by local TV channels in Gopalganj and was also telecast there.
About two-thirds of Bihar’s population [10.5 crore] is dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. Agriculture is the backbone of Bihar’s economy, employing 81% of the workforce and generating nearly 42% of the state’s domestic product, according to state government’s figures. Besides, Bihar’s per capita income is lower than the national average.