Looming cash crunch ahead of his daughter’s wedding has allegedly pushed a 55-year-old indebted farmer to commit suicide at Muradpur village in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr district.
Deshraj Singh’s family claimed that he had borrowed Rs 60,000 after mortgaging his two-and-half bigha land with a moneylender for the wedding of the eldest of his seven children — five sons and two daughters — Kiran (19) on December 4. They added that he had deposited the cash in a bank on November 8 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetization of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes and limits on cash withdrawals.
The family claimed that Singh’s body was found hanging from a tree on Monday hours after leaving his house to irrigate his farm on Sunday night. “He was depressed since he heard the news that no one would be able to withdraw beyond a limit from banks or even from ATMs,” said Deshraj’s father, Yadram Singh, as he sat near a bonfire in a corner of his two-room house.
The farmer’s widow, Mithilesh, said her husband was worried about the wedding. “Sara paisa bank me hai; aur bank me lambi line hai (the money is in a bank; there are long queues,’’ she said. “… bol rahe hain ki 20-25 hazar se zyada nikal bhi nahi skate; ab hum kya karenge (you cannot withdraw over 20-25 thousand; what would we do. She broke down and cried when Kiran hugged to comfort her.
Muradpur Pradhan Nempal said that the family had requested the police not to have Singh’s autopsy done and cremated his body on Monday. He added that the farmer was worried since Muradpur has just one bank for around 10,000 residents and no ATM. He added that the residents have to travel to Dibai town, some 15 kilometers away, to withdraw cash from an ATM.
Bulandshahr District Magistrate Anjaneya Kumar told The Indian Express that officials were probing the reasons behind the farmer’s suicide. “The farmer never approached any authority nor tried to talk to bank officials. I have announced that people with emergencies at home like weddings or medical needs will be given preference at banks.’’