Kerala Kaumudi Online
Monday, 24 June 2024 3.44 AM IST

Usurious Kuberas taking lives; blade mafia getting active again


The incident where three members of a family took their own lives in Neyyattinkara after being threatened by the Blade Mafia over loan arrears cannot be seen as an isolated incident. Although similar incidents have taken place in many districts of the state, the investigation never reaches the Blade Mafia gangs. The police will close the case by writing that economic pauperism is what led to the mass suicide. The information such as how much money these families borrowed, how much they paid back and who threatened them is never revealed. The current state of affairs is that the police do not take any timely action if a complaint is filed against the blade mafia.

The family in Neyyatinkara that took their life had also lodged a complaint with the Neyyatinkara police three months ago about the intimidation by the collection agents, but no significant action was taken. Manilal, his wife S Smitha and their twenty-two-year-old son Abhilal, who lived in "Prabha Sadanam" in Ooruttukala, Neyyattinkara, took their own lives after being harassed by the blade mafia. The police have confirmed that after the loan fell due, the collection agents of the money lending company came to the clothes shop where Smitha worked and misbehaved and threatened her. They had borrowed Rs 58,000 from a private money lender. The repayment of interest was delayed for three months due to financial stress from the payment of their son's education fees. Due to this, the goondas called collection agents threatened Smitha in person and her husband over the phone.

The tragedy that happened to this family could have been avoided if the people's representatives and the police intervened. The measures taken by the police under the name of 'Operation Kubera' when Ramesh Chennithala was the Home Minister were very successful in controlling the blade moneylenders. The common people had felt the courage to file complaints against the moneylenders back then. Moneylenders are on a rampage as there are no such measures now. The money earned through corruption and illegal manner is given as loans at extortionate interest rates through goondas by some officials including the police. It is because of their existence that no one takes any action against the 'Usurious Kuberas'.

Teams that charge Rs 300 per day for Rs 5,000 are also operating in some cities in the state. Two years ago in Thrissur, a painting worker who had borrowed Rs 5000 from them had committed suicide after repaying more than Rs 10,000.

Kerala is now ruled by a government that has amended the law to prevent people from being tortured and forced to commit suicide in the name of attachment of their property. Naturally, official banks will be reluctant to lend money when such laws come up. If that happens, then the people will have to rely more on the blade mafia itself. Therefore, it is imperative that the government takes strong action against the blade mafia, which is operating in an illegal manner.

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