A 20-year-old college student ended her life in Kerala’s Kollam district on Tuesday, hours after the state government-controlled Kerala State Co-operative Bank placed a board in front of her house announcing that the property has been attached for a defaulted loan, police said.
Abhirami, daughter of Ajikumar, took the extreme step at her house at Sooranadu in Kollam when her parents were away at the bank on Tuesday evening to negotiate with the officials to avoid legal action, police added.
Ajikumar told reporters Wednesday that his daughter ended her life as she could not stand the humiliation caused by the possession board placed by the bank in front of the house.
“She had pleaded with the officials not to place the board, or at least cover it. My father who is bedridden is staying with us. Hence, a lot of relatives come to visit him. My daughter wanted to cover the board so that visitors would not see that the property is facing attachment. But bank officials did not heed our request,” he said.
Abhirami is a second-year BSc Computer Science student.
According to local police, Ajikumar had availed himself of a loan worth Rs 10 lakh from Kerala State Co-operative Bank, also known as Kerala Bank, five years ago when he was employed in the Middle East. But, he defaulted in repayment after he lost his job and returned home during the Covid-19 pandemic. He had sought more time for repayment, but the bank officials erected a board in front of the house stating that the property has been attached. It also stated that people should not trespass into the property possessed by the Kerala Bank.
The board was installed as per the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act (SARFAESI Act).
An official of Kerala Bank said it has only resorted to legal remedies, including fixing the attachment board. “There was no move to flush out the family from the house. The notice was served only for the defaulted amount. Officials had earlier met Ajikumar to apprise him of the situation. However, we have not spoken to anyone on Tuesday at the time of erecting the possession notice,” said the official.
Congress state president K Sudhakaran said that the student who died by suicide is a victim of the “lopsided policies” of the CPI(M) in the co-operative sector. “CPI(M) had formed the Kerala Bank, after amalgamating all district co-operative banks, for their political ends. The government should make it clear whether it formed the Kerala Bank to push people to suicide and crisis,” he said.