A 16-year-old daughter of a farmer in drought-hit Latur district of Marathwada allegedly committed suicide by consuming pesticide as her debt-pressed parents could not buy her a monthly state transport ‘bus pass’ to commute to college.
In her suicide note, the girl purportedly said she could no longer suffer the plight of her father and did not want to cast on him the additional burden of her marriage.
Through her note, she also urged bank officials and money lenders not to harrass her father as he would return the dues after her sister’s marriage.
The girl, Swati Vitthal Pitale, took the extreme step on October 14 when her father had gone to neighbouring Karnataka in search of work. She was a student of Class XI Mahatma Phule Junior College, Kingaon and resident of Jadhala village in Chakur tehsil.
Police said they found a suicide note in which the girl left a message to bank officials and private money lenders from whom her father had borrowed saying: “Please do not bother my father. He is honest and will return your money after my sister’s marriage.”
The suicide note said that she could not attend college for a week as her monthly bus pass had expired and her parents did not have money to renew it.
After a week, her mother borrowed money from a neighbour to renew her pass which cost Rs 260. She went to college, but was disturbed as she had missed many classes and her exams were approaching, the note said.
Assistant Police Inspector Satyawan Hakke said, “On October 14, the girl went to her farm with two of her friends. She engaged her friends in another corner of the farm and went into the hut where her father had kept leftover pesticides and consumed it.”
“She was rushed to the local hospital and then transferred to Latur hospital. But she died during treatment the next day,” he said.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena, ruling partner of the BJP in the state, seized on the incident to take some potshots at the Devendra Fadnavis Government.
Taking a dim view of money sanctioned from CM’s Relief Fund for a dance troupe’s foreign tour at a time when a poor girl from Latur district committed suicide, the Sena said it depicts “unhealthy mindset of the government”.
“With the girl’s suicide, it has become clear that those in power can only speak. On the one hand Swati committed suicide due to poverty and on the other the state government approves Rs 8 lakh to fund a dance troupe to Bangkok. This depicts the unhealthy mindset of the state government,” an editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said.