Five of family die in ‘suicide pact’

In a suspected suicide pact, five members of a family were found dead in their house in Kallambalam on the outskirts of the State capital early Saturday.

The bodies of Manikuttan (54), his wife Sandhya (46), their children Abhijith (16), and Ameya (12), and Manikuttan’s mother’s sister Devakiyamma (78), were found in the house in Chathanpara near Kallambalam. The police were alerted of the deaths around 6 a.m.

Manikuttan was found hanging from the ceiling of a bedroom, while the others were lying dead on a bed and the floor suspectedly after having consumed poison.

District Police Chief (Thiruvananthapuram Rural) Divya V. Gopinath said Manikuttan’s mother, who was also present in the house at the time of the alleged incident, has been shifted to another house. The causes of the deaths could be ascertained only after the post-mortem examinations, she added.

While the Kallambalam police were also yet to ascertain the circumstances that led to the deaths. Local residents squarely blamed the tragedy on the Attingal municipality which had purportedly served a notice on Manikuttan a few days ago after finding a wayside eatery that he ran in Manamboor under unhygienic conditions.

Following the action of the local body’s health wing, the outlet had remained closed since June 28. This could have pushed the family that was already reeling under financial stress to extreme measures, they alleged.

Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi Alamcode unit president A.K.S. Sulaiman said food safety officials had also “unfairly” fined the eatery ₹50,000 and ordered its closure.

However, Manikuttan’s neighbour Rajeev said there was nothing to suggest the family struggled to make both ends meet. It was only recently they had completed the construction of a new house nearby and conducted a house-warming ceremony. The deaths occurred in Manikuttan’s ancestral house.

Besides, Manikuttan’s outlet that has been in business for nearly 20 years used to receive numerous customers, he added.

The police have registered a case of unnatural death.

(Suicide prevention helpline: DISHA - 1056, 0471 - 2552056)

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Printable version | Aug 15, 2022 12:16:57 pm |