Man kills self for failure to give smartphone to daughter

Agartala/Guwahati, July 2 (IANS): In a shocking incident, a day labourer committed suicide by hanging himself at his house in western Tripura after he failed to provide an Android smartphone to his daughter for her online studies.

Sepahijala district police chief Krishnendu Chakraborty said that 45-year Sukumar Bhowmik after being pressured by his 15-year-old eldest daughter for an Android smartphone, bought an ordinary mobile phone. "When Sukumar gave the new mobile phone to his daughter, she refused to accept it as she needed an Android smartphone for her online coaching. Sukumar's wife and daughter also scolded him for not buying an Android smartphone," Chakraborty told IANS on Thursday.

The officer said that Sukumar tried to pacify his wife and daughter, telling them that he did not have the money to purchase the costly Android phone but they continued to berate him. His daughter broke the new mobile phone by throwing it on the ground.

Sukumar's close relatives said that feeling humiliated by the abuse heaped on him by his daughter and wife, he committed suicide by hanging himself in a closed room in his home at Madhupur in western Tripura's Sepahijala district early Wednesday.

"Sukumar, a day labourer by profession, was maintaining his family, comprising three children, his wife and himself, by his meagre daily earnings that had come down because of the COVID-19 induced restrictions," said Manika Bhowmik, a close relative of Sukumar.

In a similar tragic incident in Assam last week, a 15-year-old class 10 student belonging to a poor family in Western Assam's Chirang district, committed suicide after he failed to attend online classes and examinations in the absence of a smartphone. The boy reportedly committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree near his house.

According to Assam police the boy, a resident of Salbari village under Runikhata police station in Chirang district, was a student of class ten at Tukrajhar High School. "The young student was supposed to attend the online classes which were started recently after the government's order. After the COVID-19 pandemic induced lockdown and shutting down of educational institutions, many schools across the country have started online classes," a police official said in Guwahati.

Meanwhile, the Tripura government has recently announced to provide Rs 5,000 each to 14,608 students of the final year at the undergraduate level for buying smartphones. Tripura's Education and Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath told IANS that the Rs 5,000 would be given to each of the 14,608 students under the "Mukhyamantri Yuba Yogayog Yojana" (Chief Minister's youth communication scheme) for buying smartphones.

"Smart Android mobile phones are helpful in opening up huge opportunities for developing skills, to enhance knowledge, gather information and availing employment opportunities." the minister said.

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