NHRC notice to the Government of Tamil Nadu over self immolation by a family of four facing unwarranted harassment by a moneylender without any relief from the police and the administrative authorities in Tirunelveli (25.10.2017)
New Delhi, 25th October, 2017
The National Human Rights Commission has taken cognizance of a complaint that a labourer set himself and his family ablaze on the Tirunelveli Collectorate premises on the 23rd October, 2017 after his repeated petitions to the Collector, seeking relief from unwarranted harassment by a moneylender, allegedly, did not invoke any response. Despite having paid Rs. 2.34 lakh towards the principal and interests against the loan of Rs. 1.45 lakh, the victim was facing harassment from the moneylender for payment of Rs.2 lakh more.
Taking a serious view of the matter, the Commission has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police, Tamil Nadu, the District Collector and Superintendent of Police, Tirunelveli to submit a report within four weeks.
The Commission has observed that the media has also reported the incident widely. It is not only shocking but also displays total lack of responsibilities on part of the police and the other concerned officials. It transpires that in many parts of the State, usurious interest rate is being charged by the moneylenders and in the event, the borrowers fail to pay the interest, they are physically and mentally harassed. Further, the concerned authorities are not taking appropriate action in the matter; rather people are being harassed by the police in connivance with moneylenders.
Allegedly, in the instant case, the victim, Esakkimuthu had submitted petitions to the Collector, Tirunelveli at six weekly Grievance Redressal meetings for police intervention in the matter. The local police, instead of taking action on his complaints, had been harassing the victim's family in connivance with the moneylender. The victim accompanied with his wife and two children had gone to the Collector's Office, Tirunelveli on the 23rd October, 2017. However, during the progress of 'Grievance Redressal' meeting, the victim set himself and his family ablaze after pouring kerosene. They suffered severe burn injuries and were taken to the hospital, where Esakkimuthu is in a critical condition and his wife and two children, aged about 4 years and 1-½ years, succumbed to the burn injuries.