By Sarwar Kashani
New Delhi– Nearly 40 deaths — including suicides, cardiac arrests in long queues, hospital casualties and a murder in a fit of rage — in the past few days have been attributed to demonetisation. The move has caused a huge cash crunch in the country and turned life upside down for the lower middle class and poor families in India.
Eleven people have died in Uttar Pradesh, most due to cardiac attacks since Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8 night announced the recall of 500- and 1,000-rupee notes, rendering them illegal.
Seven persons have died in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and West Bengal, put together.
In Odisha, a two-year-old, suffering from high fever, died after an auto-rickshaw driver refused the family a ride because it didn’t have lower denomination notes to pay for fare.
The deaths in Uttar Pradesh include seven due to cardiac arrests and two suicides in the past one week.
A farmer in Bulandshahr allegedly hanged himself in his hosue on Sunday after he failed to exchange his old currency notes. The police said he was to marry off his daughter on December 4 and had visited a bank to exchange his old notes but could not do so because of the surging crowds.
Two minors were also reported to have died in the state after their parents failed to arrange lower denomination notes for their treatments in hospitals. The hospitals denied the charges.
The consequences of demonetisation have also claimed three lives in Jharkhand. Police sources said two died on Wednesday and one on Tuesday.
Ramchandra Paswan died afer standing in a crushing queue for more than four hours at a State Bank of India branch in Mohammadganj.
In another incident, 70-year-old Lakshmi died of shock over the death of his 20-year-old grandson Lavkush in Bokaro district. Lavkush died on Tuesday night as the economic condition of the family had worsened. His father, a daily wage worker, was unable to get work in the past few days.
In Mumbai, an ill infant was allegedly denied admission to a private hospital in Govandi area for the same reason. He died the next day. Apart from these two fatal incidents, many private hospitals have refused to accept the now spiked currency notes in violation of government orders, posing huge problems for people during medical emergencies.
A 73-year-old man died due to heart failure after waiting for long in a queue outside a public sector bank in Mulund, Mumbai.
In Assam, Dinabandhu Das, 52, had taken out a huge sum of money from the bank for the marriage of his daughter slated for next month. He died of a shock after Modi announced the decision, rendering the currency notes useless.
“He felt uneasy after hearing that the central government banned the currency notes. All the amount was in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations. We took him to the Marowari Maternity Hospital immediately but the doctors declared him brought dead,” a relative said.
Another trader lost his life in Assam’s Jorhat town with one of his sons saying the death was due to depression he suffered after the demonetisation decision was announced.
Jitu Rahman, in Sivsagar district of Assam, went to the ATM around 11 p.m. on November 8 to deposit at an ATM some 1,000- and 500-rupee notes. He waited before the machine became non-functional. He was found dead in the bed next morning.
Gopala Shetty, 93, died on Saturday at Ajekar village in Udupi district of southern Karnataka after he collapsed in a long queue to exchange the demonetised currency notes at the state-run Corporation Bank.
“The victim stood in the queue even before the bank opened for business on a hot day. As he could not bear the heat, his blood pressure rose and he collapsed at the spot with the old notes in his hands,” Karkala Circle Inspector Joy Anthony told IANS.
In West Bengal’s Howrah, a man was alleged to have thrown his wife to death from the 10th floor of their apartment building as she returned home empty handed hours after standing in a queue outside an ATM. A family member said the accused was tense over the government’s move. (IANS)