An employee working with the North West Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) allegedly died by suicide in Belgavi district on Thursday, police said. The incident happened in Saundatti taluk of Belgavi district. The deceased, identified as Shivakumar Neelgar (40), was working as a driver-cum-conductor at the Saundatti depot. Sources close to the family of the deceased told the media that he was serving as a driver-cum-conductor in NWKRTC for about 12 years.
Belgavi is also the home district of Deputy Chief Minister and Transport Minister Lakshman Savadi.
Lakshmi, the wife of the deceased employee, accused that the police tried to pressurise them to file a case stating that her husband was debt-ridden. She further added that what prompted her husband to die by suicide was the realisation that he would not be included under Sixth Pay Commission.
Lakshmi also alleged that the NWKRTC had not issued him any notice but rather directed him to report to his duty in short notice. "My husband committed suicide only because he realised that he would not be brought under Sixth Pay Commission. He desperately wanted his salary to be brought under this commission," she told.
However, Deputy Chief Minister Lakshman Savadi cited that owing to the debts, the deceased was under pressure and died by suicide, the minister said.
The employees of KSRTC, BMTC, NWKRTC, NEKRTC under a common banner— Karnataka State Road Transport Employees League—went on an indefinite strike since April 7 alleging that the government has failed to pay heeds to their demands they presented during a similar strike in December, 2020. The Employees have been asking the Karnataka Government to pay them wages in accordance with the Sixth Pay Commission.
The state government on Friday banned the protest, and threatened them with implementing the Essential Services Management Act (ESMA) and "no work no pay". Some RTC employees returned to work, and buses were reportedly operating on some routes in Bengaluru and some locations in the state. However, the bus services still remain largely affected as the employees have stated that the strike will continue on Saturday.
If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, please provide help. Here are some helpline numbers of suicide-prevention organisations that can offer emotional support to individuals and families.
State health department's suicide helpline: 104
Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre - 044-24640050 (listed as the sole suicide prevention helpline in Tamil Nadu)
Life Suicide Prevention: 78930 78930
Roshni: 9166202000, 9127848584
Sahai (24-hour): 080 65000111, 080 65000222
Maithri: 0484 2540530
Chaithram: 0484 2361161
Both are 24-hour helpline numbers.
State government's suicide prevention (tollfree): 104
Roshni: 040 66202000, 6620200
SEVA: 09441778290, 040 27504682 (between 9 am and 7 pm)
Aasara offers support to individuals and families during an emotional crisis, for those dealing with mental health issues and suicidal ideation, and to those undergoing trauma after the suicide of a loved one.
24x7 Helpline: 9820466726
Click here for working helplines across India.