Fearing that they will lose their home in a loan default case, a teenage girl and her mother committed suicide by setting themselves on fire in Thiruvananthapuram's Neyyatinkara area today. Strangely enough, they had already paid off Rs 8 lakh towards a housing loan of Rs 6 lakh taken from a public sector bank about 15 years ago.
Vaishnavi, 19, and Lekha, 40, suffered 90% burns in the incident. The girl's father, Chandran, was away at the time.
According to police, the family had taken a Rs 6-lakh housing loan from a public sector bank in the locality about 15 years ago. "As much as Rs 8 lakh was repaid already, but because we had defaulted on payments in the interim period, the bank authorities said we needed to pay Rs 4.8 lakh more. They threatened to attach our property unless we paid up immediately," news agency PTI quoted Chandran as saying.
The deadline for paying the cash was set to lapse today.
The father said that although the family had sought more time from the bank, its officials began calling Lekha repeatedly. Desperate, she and Vaishnavi set themselves on fire.
As news of the deaths spread, local residents squatted on the road in front of Chandran's house and demanded action against those responsible. State Finance Minister Thomas Isaac has promised to inquire into the matter.
(With inputs from Agencies)