Karnataka farmer dies by suicide after private money lender keeps family under illegal house arrest

A money lender allegedly kept his family under house arrest for not repaying a loan and threatened to keep them hostage until he repaid.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published May 21, 2024 | 4:28 PMUpdatedMay 29, 2024 | 7:58 PM

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A farmer in Karnataka died by suicide on 19 May over a private money lender allegedly keeping his family under illegal house arrest for not repaying a loan, police said on Tuesday, 21 May.

The farmer, Raju Khotagi, was a resident of Islampura village near Hukkeri taluka in the Belagavi district.

“Raju Kotha had taken a loan of ₹1.5 lakh from a private lender named Siddavva Buyannavar of the same village. He was paying around 10 percent monthly interest for the loan,” sources said.

“Siddavva allegedly trespassed into Raju’s house and demanded to repay the loan immediately. She kept the family members under house arrest and threatened that she would release them only after clearing the debt,” the source added.

Raju had approached several people to get a loan to repay Siddavva and when he failed to obtain the money, he took the extreme step, claimed sources.

Based on a complaint from the victim’s family, an FIR has been registered against Siddavva at Yamakanmardi Police Station.

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Accused fled the spot

The police said that the accused fled the spot once the farmer allegedly ended his life.

“The farmer died by suicide in the early morning hours on 19 May. The family members have filed a complaint against the money lender,” Yamakanmardi Police Inspector Mahadev Sirahatti told South First.

“The accused has fled the spot after the farmer took the extreme step. We have formed multiple teams to trace her and a probe is underway,” added Sirahatti.

Belagavi Superintendent of Police (in-charge) BS Nemagouda told South First that senior officials were sent to the village to probe the incident.

“The farmer’s family alleged that his wife and son were kept in house arrest and the accused had threatened that they would release them only after the loan was repaid,” Nemagouda said.

“We have booked the accused on the charges of abetment of suicide and SC/ST Atrocities act. I have sent an Additional SP and a Deputy SP to the village to look into the incident,” he added.

Speaking on the allegation that the police delayed accepting the complaint from the farmer’s family, he said: “I have been alerted about this as well. We will verify and probe these allegations and initiate action against the on-duty police as well.”

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Vijayendra criticises Congress government

Meanwhile, BJP Karnataka president and MLA BY Vijayendra demanded strict action against the private money lender and slammed the state government.

In his post on X, Vijayendra said: “The exploitation of farmers is excessive under the administration of the Congress government.”

“A farmer of Islampura village of Yamakanmardi constituency, which is represented by Minister Satish Jarkiholi, committed suicide for failing to repay the debt taken from the private lenders,” said Vijayendra.

“He took an extreme step as his wife and son were kept under illegal house arrest for the delay in repaying the loans. This incident is a shame to this society,” he added.

“What all should the people of this state suffer during the administration of the Congress government? This government system is for goons, murderers and private money lenders,” he charged.

Vijayendra asked the state government to ensure prompt action against the accused and demanded the state government ensure that no such heinous incidents were repeated.

“The government must chalk out a program to instil confidence in farmers and provide adequate financial assistance and security to the family of the deceased farmer,” urged Vijayendra.

(If you need support or know someone who has suicidal thoughts, please reach out to your nearest mental health specialist or contact the helpline numbers of suicide prevention organisations that can offer emotional support to individuals and families. Tele-MANAS: 14416; Arogya Vani: 104: Sahay Helpline: 080-25497777)

(Edited by Muhammed Fazil)