Extreme financial distress forced a family of eight to commit suicide by consuming poison on Sunday. Two of them could be saved, however, the rest six died. The survivors are being treated at the Government Rajaji Hospital and are said to be in a critical condition.
The deceased were identified as Velmurugan, Kurinji Kumaran, Jeyajothi (their mother), Jeya Tharani (daughter of Kurinji Kumaran), Jeya Sakti (daughter of Velmurugan) and Devi (his wife). Those in critical condition are Thangaselvi (wife of Kurinji Kumaran) and Jeya Monica (his daughter).
On investigation, it was found that Velmurugan and his brother Kurinji Kumaran were running an elementary school in Kurinji Street in Yagappa Nagar. They were also involved in other businesses where they had incurred huge losses and were in debt. A suicide note was found, the contents of which were addressed to the Madurai Collector. The note reportedly hinted at a loan default too. The entire content is, however, not known.
Throwing further light on the incident, Madurai Police Commissioner Mahesh Kumar Agarwal said, "In the suicide note, the family has also asked authorities to dispose their property off and settle their dues. There's no information on who they owe money. We are investigating."
Madurai is notorious for money lenders lending money at unreasonably high interest rates. Although banned by the government, the practice still continues. Police said that when one of the neighbours peeped through the window of their house, she noticed all of them lying on the floor with froth in their mouth. She immediately contacted 108 ambulance service after alerting the others.
The neighbours broke open the front door and reportedly waited for the ambulance. However, when it did not arrive on time, they called for a mini bus and sent them all to the hospital. Jegajothi, Velmurugan, Kurinji Kumaran, Jeyasakthi and Dharani had died in the house itself. Devi, Jeyasakthi, daughter of Velmurugan, and Jeya Monika, second daughter of Kurinji Kumaran, were battling for life. However, Devi died in hospital without responding to treatment.
Meanwhile, neighbours have reported that the ambulance 108 arrived late. Otherwise, a few more could have been saved. However, District Collector K Veera Raghava Rao said, "We have asked the 108 (ambulance) operator to explain. In Madurai, 108 service is quite good and we've saved several lives. We would probe and take action in this case."