Tamil Nadu: NHRC notice to CS, DGP over usury immolation

The NHRC notice said it has come to its notice that usurious interest rate is being charged by moneylenders.

Chennai: National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday issued notices to Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary, Director General of Police and two top officials of Tirunelveli district seeking their response on self immolation of a couple and their children due to harassment from usurers.

The commission said it was taking cognisance of a complaint that a labourer set himself and his family ablaze on the Tirunelveli collectorate premises on Monday after his repeated petitions to the collector seeking relief from unwarranted harassment by a moneylender, allegedly did not evoke any response.

The complaint, according to NHRC, said though the couple had paid Rs 2.34 lakh towards the principal and interest amount against the loan of Rs 1.45 lakh that they availed, the moneylender was harassing them seeking another Rs 2 lakh.

“Taking a serious view of the matter, the commission has issued notices to the chief secretary and Director General of Police, Tamil Nadu, the district collector and superintendent of police, Tirunelveli, to submit a report within four weeks,” a notice from the NHRC said.

The NHRC notice said it has come to its notice that usurious interest rate is being charged by moneylenders and in the event, the borrowers fail to pay the interest, they are physically and mentally harassed.

The commission also contended that Essakimuthu, the victim who succumbed to his burns on Wednesday, submitted petitions to the collector at six weekly grievance redressal meetings for police intervention in the matter. However, it said, local police, instead of taking action on his complaints, had been harassing victim’s family in connivance with the moneylender.

The incident has brought the focus back on usurers who are notorious for charging sky-high interest rates from people who come to them seeking money. Though the Tamil Nadu government enacted a law in 2003 to rein in usurers, activists say the law is not being implemented in letter and spirit.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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