Thiruvananthapuram, May 14 (IANS) A 41-year-old mother and her 19-year-old daughter, here on Tuesday, set themselves afire as they were unable to bear the news that their home would be seized by bank officials for non-payment of housing loan.
Lekha and her daughter Vaishnavi doused themselves with kerosene and set alight in their bedroom. Hearing the cries, neighbours rushed to their home and broke open the doors. While Vaishnavi died on the spot, her mother passed away at the hospital.
According to Chandran, husband of Lekha, Canara Bank officials have been after him for non-payment of the balance of housing loan. “I was running around to pay the remaining dues and we had asked for some more time. We had decided to sell the house and repay the outstanding,” said Chandran.
Canara Bank in an official statement said Chandran had availed a Rs 5 lakh loan in 2005 and in 2010 it was declared a non-performing asset and legal proceedings were initiated.
“On May 10, the recovery officials had reached the home and said latest by today the balance of Rs 6.80 lakh should be paid in full and the loan be settled. This was being done legally and the bank officials were not involved in what happened today,” said the bank.
Local leader M. Anil said, local police have been urged to check the mobile records of the two deceased, as numerous calls from bank officials asking them to pay up or vacate the house were made.
“The model code of conduct is still in place, and all loans have been under a moratorium following last year’s floods. Thus, the recovery was in gross violation of the rules,” said Anil.
After hearing about the incident, people blocked the main road for a few hours. They ended their protest after assurance from the police that appropriate action would be taken.