Four members of a family, including two children, were found dead at Sidhai village in Tripura West district Friday. Police suspect the parents poisoned their children before hanging themselves.
According to the police, while the bodies of the children, a girl aged 7 and a boy aged 9, were found at their home, the bodies of the parents were found hanging in a nearby jungle.
Officers say the parents were suffering from poverty and the pressure of debts, which led them to take the step.
After the deaths came to light, Opposition CPI (M) blamed the BJP government for poverty and unemployment in the state.
Paresh Tanti, 40, lived at Sanyasi Tilla area of Sidhai with his wife Sajani Tanti, 36, and two children. Around three years ago, he took two loans, — one of Rs 50,000 from Bandhan Bank, and one of Rs30,000 from M/s Annapurna, a micro-finance firm.
Officer said Paresh, who worked as a vegetable vendor and daily wager, was liable pay Rs 6,100 every month as installments, including weekly installments of Rs 1,100 to the bank and Rs 1,700 a month to the firm. For the past several weeks, he had been unable to pay the installments.
On Friday night, his neighbours said, he and his wife went out to a nearby forest. Their bodies were later found hanging from a tree. Their children were found poisoned at home.
West Tripura Superintendent of Police Manik Das Sunday told indianexpress.com that a case of unnatural death had been registered at Sidhai Mohanpur police station. He said Paresh had purchased a plot at Sanyasi Tilla, but failed to get its legal papers from the previous owner.
“Relatives of the deceased have said Paresh and his family was finding it difficult to pay the loan installments. He was also undergoing problems with the documents of his land…We are looking into all issues,” Das said.
The SP said police had recovered poison containers from the Tantis’ house, and suspect this was the poison the parents used on the children.
Opposition attacks govt over ‘poverty deaths’
Opposition CPI (M) has issued a statement saying Paresh Tanti and his family’s death proves “severe crisis of food and work” in the BJP-IPFT-ruled Tripura. Two delegations of the Communist party visited Sidhai village after the incident. The second delegation headed by Opposition leader Manik Sarkar met Paresh Tanti’s relatives and neighbours Sunday afternoon.
“It is clear that Paresh Tanti was forced to commit suicide due to utter desperation and financial crisis. They had no job to sustain their family, on top of that they were under debts. It is a very painful incident. We appeal to all local people to stand together with the family’s relatives in this time,” Sarkar told reporters after his visit.
Opposition Congress leader Subal Bhowmik visited the area too. “They died due to poverty. There is no work in rural Tripura… also Paresh was under debt. We appeal to the state government to ensure jobs and employment to save the poor from such an end,” Bhowmik said.
BJP blames Opposition
The ruling BJP has denied allegations of unemployment and poverty in rural areas of Tripura.
BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya said, “It is an absolute lie that there is no job in Tripura’s villages. Lots of jobs were created since our government assumed office. Special emphasis was given on strengthening the rural economy.”
He blamed CPI (M) for “creating poverty” in their 25-year regime till 2018, saying: “If Paresh Tanti has indeed died due to poverty, CPI (M) should be held responsible.”