The call money racket in Andhra Pradesh took a new turn on Thursday, after a family of four committed suicide by jumping into a lake in Chittoor district.
Another woman borrower, who was forced out of her home, also died at a hospital in Kadapa town while two others in the district attempted suicide.
A report in the Times of India adds.
On Thursday morning, 36-year-old Siva Kumar, a resident of Diguvanagulavaripalle village in Chittoor district, took his family to the Ayyappa temple. After offering prayers, they rode on a motorbike to the neighbouring village. On the banks of the Sitamma lake, they then posed for a family photograph. It was a picture of a family on an outing, till all of them jumped into the water. Their bodies were retrieved in the evening...The family left behind a note naming the moneylenders whose harassment forced them to take the extreme step.
This took place even as the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the opposition parties were trading allegation against each other on the floor of the state Assembly on the issue.
The police have launched an investigation and the bodies have been sent for a post-mortem.
The other incident involved a 53-year-old woman, Waheeda Bano, who was hospitalised after a moneylender and his henchmen forcibly took possession of her house. She died while undergoing treatment.
The call money racket, involves gangs, giving loans to innocent women at very high interest rates and threatening and coercing them into handing over their house or land when they are unable to repay the money on time. In some instances, the gangs also allegedly force the women into the sex trade to repay the money.
The Andhra Pradesh government on Wednesday ordered a judicial enquiry into the call money racket after the names of many local leaders from the ruling TDP also cropped up.