A farmer allegedly committed suicide outside a village office in Kerala’s Kozhikode district on Wednesday night. Kavilpurayidathil Joy, alias Thomas, 57, of Chakkittapara village was found hanging around 9.30 pm. Alleged harassment by staff in the village office is said to have led to the suicide.
Police sources, quoting his suicide note, told The Hindu that he was turned away by the staff of the Chembanod village office when he went there to pay land tax. Joy’s family also alleged that the village officials repeatedly rejected his attempts to pay tax on land registered in his wife’s name and also asked for a bribe. The farmer is survived by his wife and three children.
Village Assistant Sireesh, who is suspected to have a role in the harassment, has been suspended over the incident. Joy’s brother told Mathrubhumi newspaper that his brother was threatened by the officials and was unable to bear the mental torture.
The land was purportedly under a family dispute. Joy had earlier complained in the village office about the non-acceptance of the land tax. They also took part in the sit-in protest near the village office. The village office refused to accept the payment stating that the land was not assessed in revenue records. Joy’s family was paying the tax for availing loans to pay off debts.
The Congress has called for a dawn-to-dusk hartal at Chakkittapara and has refused to shift Joy’s body unless the government assured official action against the culprits, The Hindu reported. E Chandrasekharan, the Revenue Minister has also asked for a report from Kozhikode District Collector U V Jose on the incident. The Collector, after meeting Joy’s relatives said, “I’ll ensure that tax on the property will be collected today itself. People responsible for the incident will face action.”