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Widows demand relief from the debts of husbands

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 5 (UNI) Demanding relief from the debt burden chasing them for many years, about 50 widows of the farmers who committed suicide, have been on a sit-in outside Kerala House at Jantar Mantar road here from February 27.

The women in the 35-65 age group started their agitation in the national capital city after their efforts to get the debts written off at the state government level failed.

"We launched a dharna in front of the Kerala secretariat on February 24 seeking to release us from the debt burden forced on us due to crash in prices of pepper, ginger, arecanut, paddy and coconut. But the state government expressed its inability to help us as the loans were taken from the nationalised banks which come under the purview of the centre. That is why we have shifted our agitation venue to New Delhi," said Kerala Widows and Destitutes Association Secretary Leelamma Jose.

"We had already lost our dear ones. The debt is not giving us peace. It has beeb haunting us for so many years now," she said. "We can turn a new leaf only after this mental worry is removed," she added. Leelamma said the 50-odd members of the Association are on agitation to uphold the cause of hundreds of their members widowed by debt burden that drove their dear ones to take the extreme step in the past several years.

She said all the widows and destitutes in the association together owed Rs 30 crore to different nationalised and cooperative banks in Kerala.

Sixty-year-old Saraswathi Amma, who is on dharna in a tent pitched in front of the Kerala House, said it would be difficult for her to cope with it any more. "I am remaining here despite sickness due to change in climate, but my real problem of debt is still worse," she added.

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