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Bihar: Lone Surviving Member of Family That Died by Suicide Wants Action Against Moneylenders

Another family member died in a Nawada hospital on Thursday, taking the total toll to six.
Bihar: Lone Surviving Member of Family That Died by Suicide Wants Action Against Moneylenders

Representational Image. Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Patna: A day after six members of a debt-ridden family in Bihar's Nawada town reportedly died by suicide after consuming poison unable to withstand alleged torture and harassment by moneylenders and were cremated, Amit Kumar, the elder son and only member alive, demanded stern action against moneylenders.

"I want nothing from the government, only stern action against the moneylenders, who were torturing, harassing and abusing my family to repay the debt that forced them to end their life. Moneylenders were threatening my father to pick up his young daughters. For their suicide, moneylenders are directly responsible and deserve harsh punishment," Amit Kumar, who rushed from Delhi to Nawada after being informed about the shocking news that six of his family members died by suicide, told NewsClick.

Amit Kumar, who works in Delhi, said his father repeatedly told him about increasing mental harassment by moneylenders and the threat of physical harm over failure to repay debt.

"Father and my entire family were under stress and facing trouble. Moneylenders made their life hell." he said.

Amit Kumar claimed his father was regularly repaying the debt to moneylenders, but they were pressuring to repay them without delay.

"Only two days before this unbelievable incident, I told father not to take much tension and that I will help solve it soon".

In the wake of growing anger against moneylenders in Nawada, police have initiated action.

Nawada Town Police station officer in charge Arun Kumar Singh told NewsClick that an FIR had been lodged against seven named accused in this connection.

"So far, only one accused has been arrested, and two suspected accused detained and interrogated. Verification of their involvement is underway. Police will arrest other named accused soon."

Singh said police had begun an investigation into the case following the directive of the Nawada Superintendent of Police Gaurav Mangla. Initial inquiry suggests that the family died by suicide due to moneylenders' pressure to repay debt.

Unable to repay the debt to moneylenders, Kedar Lal Gupta, a fruit trader, along with his wife, three daughters and a son, allegedly consumed poison tablets on Wednesday night.

"Soon after 'consuming poison' near a busy road, they fell on the ground one after the other and died on the way to the hospital and during treatment, said some local residents. Gupta's daughter, Sakshi, was breathing when the locals rushed to help. She was admitted to a government-run hospital and later died during treatment.

Gupta's family allegedly ended their life after reportedly being under pressure from moneylenders, who were not ready to give them six months to repay the debt, according to a purported two-page suicide note by Gupta.

In the note, dated November 8, 2022, Gupta highlighted the "torture, harassment and abuse by moneylenders that forced the family to take an extreme step," according to reports.

He has alleged that six moneylenders, including Manish Singh, Vikash Singh, Tuntun Singh, Vijay Singh, and Pankaj Sinha, were "torturing" him and his family and described them as "termites of the society."

"Such people (moneylenders) are licking the entire country like termites and would destroy everything," the purported note read.

Gupta, in the note, is said to have admitted that he had taken debt from moneylenders, locally known as mahajans, and was facing "harassment, abuse and torture" for the past five to six years. He also mentioned that he had already repaid interest, which was "two to three times" the total debt taken, but his debt had not ended.

At the end of his purported note, Gupta alleged that the moneylenders had "destroyed the lives of many people", and there was an urgent need to check their activities.

As per the reports, some neighbours of Gupta also said that he had taken loans from some moneylenders and was struggling to repay those due to a financial crunch. His fruit business was not doing well since demonetisation, followed by the COVID pandemic, they said. The entire family had been distressed over debt for the past few years as moneylenders repeatedly put pressure on them, they added.

The family lived in a rented house in the new area mohalla in Nawada for several years. Gupta was running a fruit shop, their only livelihood source.

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