Kerala Farmer Repeatedly Asked To Pay Bribe, Commits Suicide
Joy, a farmer, killed himself on Wednesday, tired of begging officers to accept his land tax.
“We had to pay loans, educate our children. That’s why we wanted to sell our land. But now my husband has been forced to kill himself. These people take salary from the government, when will they ever understand the problems of poor people,” Molly wept as she spoke to the media about her husband’s suicide.
KP Joy, a 57-year-old Kerala farmer, hanged himself to death at the Chembanodu village revenue office near Kozhikode on Wednesday night.
Joy was forced to take his life after revenue officials, greedy for a bribe, refused to accept his land tax.
Joy, who had inherited around 80 cents of property, wanted to sell his land to avail a loan. For almost four years, he went from one government office to another, trying to get the land deeds and pay tax.
On Friday, Joy’s relatives and others protested at the village office.
Though officers had refused to take the money from Joy for four years, the procedure was done within a few minutes on Thursday.
Joy’s brother Jose alleged:
The land survey number seems to have been changed. This is how they made my brother walk in and out of this office for years.
Kozhikode District Collector UV Jose, who arrived to pacify the furious locals, said that he would recommend write-off of Joy's loan and a state government job to one of his family members.
Meanwhile Joy’s wife Molly said that village revenue assistant Sirish, who was suspended on Thursday for dereliction of duty, had asked Joy for a bribe.
Molly told media.
We had all the documents with us. He was so depressed about them asking bribe of Rs one lakh. Joy had told me one officer named Sirish asked for the bribe. We met many officers, seeking help. I told all of them that he might die as he was so depressed. No one helped us. Now he took this extreme step, the loss is only for me and my children. They have nothing lost, they get government salary.
“We have lot of debts. I have to educate my kids. We need to sell this land, and that is why Joy pleaded to these officers. Our loans ran up to Rs 16 lakhs,” Molly added.
Meanwhile, Kerala Vigilance and Anti Corruption has ordered an inquiry into the issue. The department has been getting complaints regarding officers refusing to accept tax and land revenue.
State Power Minister MM Mani, who arrived at the residence of Joy on Thursday, said that he has spoken to the district collector. Mani assured justice to Joy's family.
"The state cabinet will take a compassionate approach in this case and will do the needful," Mani told the media here.
Joy is survived by his wife and three daughters. While two of his daughters were married, the third is a student.
(This article was originally published on The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)
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