SRINAGAR: In a shocking incident, a former paramilitary man allegedly committed suicide after the authorities took over his home and land for a road project at a cost less than the prevailing market rates, The Indian Express reported. Authorities say the suicide is delinked with the project as the man was suffering from depression.
Identified as Harbans Lal, he had served Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), the paramilitary forces that guards India’s China border. Lal was living in Chak Avtara village in Bishnah tehsil. The 55-year-old man “allegedly died by suicide” on July 21. The suicide was reported a day after “revenue officials and policemen went to demolish his home”.
The newspaper said this is the second death in the family to protect their home from being acquired for a road project at low compensation.
“Earlier, Harbans Lal’s 22-year-old son Rahul had hanged himself to death in protest against the award of meagre compensation to acquire their land, alleged family members,” the newspaper reported on July 23. “Thereafter, Lal resigned as sub-inspector in the SSB about 18 months back, they added.”
According to the newspaper report Lal had acquired 10 marls of land from a relative for Rs 80,000, almost two decades back. The home has three rooms and was a single-story structure. He was from SC community. Lal is survived by his wife Kamlesh, 50, and son Sahil Kumar, 25.
In response to the eviction notice, the newspaper said he had represented on July 18 seeking more time with a plea that he has no other house to live in.
“Two days later, local tehsildar Sohan Lal Rana, a demolition team and a police contingent visited Lal’s home and started the demolition. As Lal and his family protested and local residents gathered, the tehsildar and others left the place after demolishing the boundary wall and asked Lal to visit his office the next day,” the newspaper reported. “According to relatives, Lal was not well the next day and his wife and son visited the tehsildar, but could not meet him. On reaching home, they found Lal hanging from the ceiling.”
The Tehsildar told the newspaper that the suicide has no links with the demolition because Lal was under depression and that the process was going on for more than a year. “Lal was served a notice in July last year as well and a compensation of Rs 9.31 lakh was deposited in his account the same month, the SDM said,” the report said. However, Lal’s son told the newspaper that the government “deposited Rs 7 lakh into his father’s account without his consent. They had taken his bank details from somewhere else, he alleged.”
Residents told the newspaper that the family was paid much less than the market rate prevailing in the village. BJP leaders have told the newspaper that they will seek more compensation for developmental projects.