Unemployment claims another victim

- May 2, 2024
| By : Kushan Niyogi |

A man in his 30s allegedly kills himself for failing to fend for his family due to financial distress as the Capital grapples with rise in cases of suicide over lack or poor employment

SCENE OF CRIME: The incomplete flyover where the deceased’s body was found

On April 14, a man was found hanging at an under-construction flyover at the Karala-Kanjhawala intersection near Rohini. 

The police recovered the body, first spotted by a passer-by, after a PCR call at six in the morning. 

According to the police, the dead body was sent to Sanjay Gandhi Hospital to determine the cause of death to rule out foul play. Following the post mortem, the corpse was handed over to the grieving family. However, these details hide within themselves the story of a person whose life was shortened by the uncertainty of employment in the country. 

The cemented walkways in Utsav Vihar tell the story of Harpreet Singh, a 35-year-old man who allegedly decided to take his own life, without a note stating the reasons. 

Shrouded in mystery, his death does not only confound the police but also his family. He had fairly strained relations with his kin since his marriage. 

Harpreet, who was a driver with a tourism agency, was left distraught due to a lack of financial backing and two mouths to feed after the birth of his child, who is now two months old.

“He was surviving hand to mouth for the past couple of months since his earnings came about only when there were tourists in Delhi. Otherwise, he would just be left to fend for himself and would take up odd jobs here and there,” said Baljeet Kaur, Harpreet’s mother. 

Seated cross-legged on the floor of her two-storeyed residence, Kaur was flanked by her relatives as an eerie silence filled up the plaster-worn, dirty green-coloured room. 

Harpreet’s father, Makkhanjeet Singh, slumped in a corner of the bed in the narrow room, stared into the distance, narrating the scenario surrounding the death. 

“He would come here sometimes. Mostly to collect some money to provide for his family. He was barely surviving without any employment, doing odd jobs almost frequently, just to put food on the table,” Kaur said. 

In 2022, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) Accidental Deaths and Suicides Report, Delhi recorded a total of 3,417 suicides with unemployed persons contributing the most at 773 persons. Similarly, data also showcased that a considerable majority of 2,558 were men as opposed to 859 women. 

Harpreet has just become the most recent addition to the list of faceless men who allegedly died of suicide. 

“He could not handle the pressure of having a child in such an atmosphere where he was toiling every day just to get some money. He was the sole bread-winner for his family and now, the mother and the child have no one. Harpreet always kept his problems to himself, never letting any of us get a whiff of anything that was going wrong in his life,” said Dhanupreet Singh, cousin of Harpreet. 

RESIDENCE: The lane at Utsav Vihar leading up to Harpreet’s residence

The deceased, according to the family, was staying with his in-laws, where he had shifted after getting married for the past two years. 

“It was a love marriage. We got to know about it a couple of months after they got married. We never had a problem with their marriage. I do not know why he felt that he had to keep it a secret,” said Monika, a family friend. 

However, the family also highlighted that during the retrieval of the body, his cell phone was not found. It is still missing. 

According to the family, Harpreet’s in-laws have started pressuring them to transfer the property to his wife, stating that the residence should be given to his next of kin. 

A police official said that an investigation was still ongoing to uncover the cause of the alleged suicide.