Poverty-ridden woman poisons children, ends life

Acute poverty drove a 35-year-old woman to poison her two children and commit suicide in a village in southern Odisha backward district of Malkangiri. (Image for representation)

Acute poverty drove a 35-year-old woman to poison her two children and commit suicide in a village in southern Odisha backward district of Malkangiri. However, the minors have survived and are recovering in the government-run district headquarters hospital due to the timely intervention of the neighbours. The incident has sent shockwaves in the entire region.

The women, identified as one Sita Madkami, a resident of Goudaguda village of the backward Naxal hit district was struggling hard to survive with her two children after the death of his husband Muka Madkami, a daily wager, two months back due to prolonged illness. He was suffering from tuberculosis. He was the only bread earner in the family.

The distress led frustrated Sita to give poison mixed food to her two children, eight-year-old son Debendra and five-year-old daughter Dharitri, before consuming the poison herself. The neighbours who found the three unconscious rushed them to the district headquarters hospital where Sita succumbed during treatment. The two children are still in the hospital.

After the incident came to light, the district administration officials reached the hospital and handed over the father-in-law of the deceased woman Rupees two thousand under the state government’s Harishchandra Yojana for her cremation. The district authorities said, the family had been provided with a ration card and were getting PDS rice regularly. The incident, however, is being investigated. The local police also registered a case and was probing the matter separately.

The tragedy, nevertheless, provided an excellent opportunity to the opposition Congress to lambast the ruling BJD on different developmental schemes launched by the state government for the benefit of the poor and downtrodden. “The Malkangiri incident has exposed how the poverty eradication schemes of the state government are being run. The woman died only because of the state government’s negligence”, said Taraprasad Bahinipati, a senior Congress legislator from Jaypur in Koraput district which neighbours Malkangiri.

Apart from government apathy, what has been hugely obstructing the developmental activities in Malkangiri is the repeated violence by Maoists active in the district. On Sunday, the left wing ultras who had picked up three villagers the previous day suspecting them to be police informers killed one among them at a kangaroo court. They had also set on fire several vehicles engaged in a road construction work.

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