TDN World Desk: It’s the migrant worker who are worst hit by COVID-19 lock down. 35-year-old Chhabu Mandal, a migrant from Bihar – who worked as a painter in Gurgaon and sold his phone for Rs 2,500 and used the money to purchase a portable fan and some ration to feed his family- commited suicide by hanging himself with a rope from the ceiling.

On Thursday morning Chabbu Monal went to market and sold his mobile phone for Rs 2,500 and used the money to purchase a portable fan and some ration to feed his family — his wife, her parents, and his four children, the youngest five months old, The Indian Express reported.

After he returned home with eatables, Mandal’s delighted wife went for cooking meal for their hungry family.The family had not had anything to eat all through Wednesday, and even before that, had been relying on meals being distributed for free in their area, or the generosity of neighbours.

Mandal, who was having acute financial crisis in the lockdown period, commited suicide on that day by hanging himself in a closed room with a piece of rope.

Mandal’s Family on his death

“He had been very troubled ever since the lockdown started; we had been struggling to get food. There was no work and no money. We were completely dependent on free meals to feed ourselves, but these also did not come every day,” said his wife, as quoted by TIE

The community centre in in Sector 56 was the closest food disbursal point for residents of Saraswati Kunj.

“There is one in Sector 56 and there is one in Wazirabad also, from what we have heard, but those are very far for us to walk to. I am disabled, my wife is also aged, and the children are young. Walking that far for food is not possible, that too on a hungry stomach,” said Mandal’s father-in-law Umesh.

“On Thursday morning, my husband decided to sell the phone he had purchased for around Rs 10,000 so he could buy some food. He bought rice and pulses and a portable fan,” said Poonam, deceased Mandal’s wife.

On Friday Mandal’s last rites were carried out by his family with borrowed money.

“Apart from the sorrow of losing him, we have to cope with the fact that we now have nobody to earn for us. After the lockdown, I will look for some work as a domestic help, but there are still 15 days to go,” she added.

Police’s version of the story

Gurgaon Police officers told media persons Mandal was “mentally troubled” denying any relation of hunger crisis in the death.

Station house officer Deepak Kumar said,“We received information about the incident yesterday afternoon. The man was a migrant worker and was mentally troubled. His body has been handed over to his family, but they have not sought any further action in the matter. No FIR has been registered.”

“In this unfortunate incident, the person was a bit disturbed and aggravated because of the disease outbreak. Food availability was not an issue since the family still has some food, and there is a food disbursal point nearby,” said a district official. This claim by the Yogi Adityanath government official again refused to mention any connection of financial crisis faced by Mandal’s family to the death.