Kerala: Farmer commits suicide in Village Office

Kerala: Farmer commits suicide in Village Office

Kerala: Farmer commits suicide in Village Office
A farmer was found dead outside a village office in Kozhikode district on Wednesday night, triggering allegations by his family that he committed suicide due to harassment by staff at the village office.

Kavilpurayidathil Joy alias Thomas (57), a resident of Chakkittappara, was found hanging in front of the Chembanoda village office at around 9.30 pm on Wednesday. Members of Joy’s family said he ended his life after his attempts to pay tax on land registered in his wife’s name were repeatedly rejected by village officials. Police found a suicide note from the village office. A village assistant, Sileesh, was suspended in connection with the incident. The State Revenue Department has ordered a probe.

Joy had, two weeks earlier, submitted at the village office a complaint – in the form of a suicide note – in connection with non-acceptance of the land tax. Joy and his family had also staged a sit-in protest near the village office.

Joy had been paying the tax till about two years ago. The village office stopped accepting the payment of tax since the ownership was transferred to Joy’s wife Molly, stating that the land was not assessed in revenue records, a claim which Joy’s family dismissed as baseless. Joy is survived by his wife and three children. Joy’s relatives said the family was trying to sell the land to pay off debts.

Tension prevailed at the village office after residents of the area refused to shift Joy’s body unless the government assured official action against the culprits. Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan sought a report from Kozhikode District Collector U V Jose on the incident.

The Collector, after meeting Joy’s relatives on Thursday, said based on preliminary inquiry, the apathy of the revenue officials led to the farmer’s death. “I’ll ensure that tax on the property will be collected today itself. People responsible for the incident will face action,” he said. The Collector said village assistant Sileesh was suspended following complaints that he had harassed Joy and solicited a bribe.

The local unit of the opposition Congress party called for a 12-hour hartal in the Chakkittappara grama panchayat in connection with the incident.
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