In a nerve wrecking incident that can shake anyone’s conscience, a civic worker committed suicide after his salary was withheld for six months. The civic worker identified as Subramani worked everyday for the last 15 years as a cleaner in Bengaluru. However, in the last six months he wasn’t paid a single rupee by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
According to reports, Subramani has left a suicide note which states that he did not have any money to pay for food and other essentials of his family. He had asked BBMP to release his salary for the last six months but to no avail. The victim’s family is blaming the Civic authority’s Health Inspector and Assistant Executive Engineer, Solid Waste Management, over the non-payment of his dues. The victim is survived by his wife and two young children- one of them is 10 years old, while the other one is 7 years old. Sabramani was reportedly compelled to pull them out of school as he could not manage to pay their fee.
Subramani lived with his family in Muneshwara Block, however, he was found dead at his father’s house near Vinayaka circle. His wife took him to the hospital but the doctors declared him brought dead. The police have confirmed that the worker committed suicide due to non-payment of dues. Sudhakar KH, a police officer at Vyalikaval police station said, “He had not been paid his salary for the last six months, and he was in deep financial trouble. His wife has filed a complaint saying this was the reason he committed suicide. We are investigating the incident from all possible angles.”
It is extremely unfortunate that even though it is clear that Subramani committed suicide over non-payment of dues for the last six months, the police have registered an FIR under suspicious or unnatural death, and not for abetment of suicide against the BBMP officers or the contractor that he used to work for. The police have reportedly absolved the BBMP officers of his death and have claimed that the civic worker was working for a contractor. However, Nirmala a BBMP workers’ union leader from Goraguntepalya, stated that the BBMP should have cleared the deceased’s dues since January, and called for the arrest of the officers responsible for the suicide of the worker. Subramani’s family has also come down heavily on the police for letting the responsible BBMP officers go scot free. They have denied the claim made by police that he used to work for a contractor and have said “He put in his biometric attendance every day, and worked regularly. Even though they weren’t paying him, he continued going to work hoping that he would get his salary and then he could send his children to school again.” Similarly, BBMP Guttige Pourakarmika Sangha has also slammed the police for its attitude in this matter. BBMP Guttige Pourakarmika Sangha president Obalappa stated, “This is government-sponsored murder. The BBMP officials demand Rs 500-1,000 per sweeper when they go to ask for their pay. If they refuse, salaries are withheld. Subramani begged the BBMP to pay him his salary. He had told them that he has two daughters whom he has to support and with the pressure from the private moneylenders to repay the loan, he had no choice but to commit suicide. They didn’t listen to his pleas. They humiliated him and dared him to kill himself.”
This incident shows how there is absolute mis-governance and misrule under the present Congress-JD (S) coalition in Karnataka. Subramani’s suicide has exposed how civic workers are being mistreated in the state and the police are also absolving those guilty for this. This is a very sensitive matter and the callousness with which the police and the state government are handling it is absolutely appalling.