Covid lockdown: Financial stress behind homemaker’s suicide

A resident of a modest housing on the southern fringes of Behala, Krishna Sen Chowdhury was found hanging in her room on Monday night. Both her husband and son were not home at that time.

A 52-year-old homemaker committed suicide apparently unable to bear the stress of her son’s unemployment because of the lockdown and inadequate income of her husband, which was not enough to pay house rent or sustain the family of three.

A resident of a modest housing in Sarsuna, Krishna Sen Chowdhury was found hanging in her room on Monday night. Her husband and son were not home then.

Her husband, who works as a contractual worker with the Calcutta Municipal Corporation, earns a few thousand rupees less than the flat’s rent.

Her son, who was involved in several contractual projects, could not find a proper job during the lockdown last year as well as this year. He, too, is unable to contribute to the family income.

Police have found that the husband, Naren Sen, earns Rs 6,600 a month. The monthly rent of their house is Rs 7,000.

“When asked how they could manage to pay the rent, he (Naren) said his younger brother used to pay Rs 4,000 every month and he would pay the remaining amount,” said an officer of Sarsuna police station.

The woman, who, according to neighbours, was “nice and friendly” left a purported note that mentioned no one was responsible for her death.

She was taken to a hospital on Monday night where she was declared dead.

“Her husband had not been keeping well for the past few years and the family was debt-ridden because of the medical expenses. Her son was unable to get a proper job. Their debt was piling up. Possibly she could not sustain that pressure any more,” said a relative.

Sen said they had taken multiple loans to tide over the financial crunch. “My son had been assaulted several times because we were unable to repay the loan in the last few months. My wife was deeply disturbed because of this. But we could not imagine she would end her life like this,” Sen said.

A neighbour said the family did not make it apparent  that they were under such financial duress. “She had a lot of self-respect,” a neighbour added.

Last year, several people in the city had reportedly ended their lives during the lockdown period — some of them unable to repay loans, while some were unable to sustain the family expenses.

The prolonged shutdown this year had again cast a long shadow on the lives of tens of thousands of people in the margins.

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