The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Poverty deaths

Chowan (Murshidabad), Aug. 16: Unable to bear poverty and a mounting debt burden, a woman poisoned her two daughters and killed herself in this town yesterday afternoon.

The incident occurred in the Hariharpara police station area of Murshidabad district, about 230 km from Calcutta.

Police said Jharna Ghosh, 32, prepared a sugar syrup for her daughters, Tumpa, 14, and Rumpa, 11, and son, Rathin, 8, and added a lethal dose of poison, presumably a pesticide. She then fed her children the drink before consuming it herself. Her husband, Biswanath Ghosh, a farmer, was not at home when the mishap occurred.

Jharna died at home while her daughters, who were being taken to the hospital by neighbours, died on way. Rathin, who suspected something was wrong when offered the drink, fled the scene.

“It seems that the woman was driven to do what she did as the family had run into huge loans and their inability to pay creditors led to the suicides,” Murshidabad police superintendent Gyanwant Singh said today. He added that investigations were on to ascertain the reasons behind the suicides.

Biswanath, who returned home late yesterday from his toils, was a broken man. “I work in the fields and have been struggling to to make both ends meet as well as to provide education for my three children. I had a fight over our poverty on Thursday night and I left, angry and confused. I returned home to find this tragedy,” he said.

The block development officer of Hariharpara, Subhas Biswas, said an investigation has been started to find out what led to the suicides. “We are looking into whether poverty was actually the motive behind the woman’s actions,” Biswas said.

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