On Wednesday night, a farmer allegedly committed suicide outside a village office in Kerala’s Kozhikode district. 57-year-old Kavilpurayidathil Joy hailing from Chakkittapara village was found hanging around 9.30 pm after he was allegedly harassed by staff in the village office which led to the suicide. He left behind a wife and three children.
According to his suicide note, 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. As per some reports, Joy’s brother said that his brother was threatened by the officials and was unable to bear the mental torture.
Notably, the staff suspected of harassment, Sireesh, has been suspended over the incident. Joy was hassled over land which 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.
Responding to the situation, the Congress party has called an all day long hartal at Chakkittapara and has refused to shift Joy’s body unless the government assured official action against the culprits. 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.”