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Family commit suicide in Jaffna over debt

A young mother in Jaffna committed suicide along with her three children on Friday unable to cope with heavy debts, which caused her husband to commit suicide one month ago. 

The tragedy comes as community groups have expressed increasing concern over financial hardship within families in the North-East, causing them to turn to precarious sources of loans, including banks, microfinance companies and personal acquaintances. Debts are often followed by harassment as families struggle to repay the loans. 

“We are increasingly hearing about the acute problem of debt, especially from women’s groups. Banks and microfinance companies go to virtually every doorstep and thrust these loans upon naïve people who are struggling to make ends meet. And then, they harass families to repay them,” the Government Agent of Jaffna, N Vethanayahan told The Hindu. 

“Today’s incident shows us the magnitude of the issue. We have decided to intensify our awareness drive immediately. We cannot afford to lose another life because of loans,” Mr Vethanayahan added.