Indian farmer commits suicide over Rupee notes ban

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A farmer in southern India committed suicide fearing she would be left penniless after the government’s shock decision to withdraw high denomination notes from circulation, police said yesterday.

Kandukuri Vinoda, 55, had a large amount of cash at her home in Rs1,000 and 500 notes and panicked that her savings had become worthless when she heard Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise announcement on Tuesday.

“The family told us she panicked after hearing about the note ban and hanged herself at her home,” a police officer said.

Vinoda from Mahabubabad district, east of Hyderabad had sold some land last month and was paid around Rs5.5mn for it in cash.

She used some of the money to pay for her husband’s medical bills and planned to use the rest to buy a new plot of land, media reported.

Many people living in rural areas keep large amounts of cash at home because of a lack of banks in remote areas and to avoid paying taxes.

The withdrawal of the notes is part of Modi’s campaign against corruption and “black money”, and the government has tried to reassure worried citizens that only tax dodgers will suffer under the move.

Police in Uttar Pradesh said they were investigating reports that people were burning off sacks of notes to avoid declaring them and being landed with heavy penalties.

“We have sent the samples for forensic tests and asked bank authorities to authenticate these are currency notes,” police chief of Bareilly district Joginder Singh said.

Earlier this year, the government ran a four-month tax amnesty, which saw Indians declare nearly $10bn in hidden wealth. (AFP)

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