Maharashtra moneylender attacks farmer over debt

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Kamanpur village (Maharashtra), Jan 22 (ANI): A moneylender in Maharashtra’s Kamanpur village today allegedly attacked a farmer due to the latter’s inability to pay the interest on a principal amount of 32,000

rupees.

The victim, Vinayak Raut, was working in his field in Kamanpur village when at least six persons attacked and assaulted him, allegedly with a sharp weapon.

Raut, who was rushed to a nearby primary health centre on a bullock cart by his father, identified a local moneylender for the attack.

“It was a 30,000 rupee debt, with an additional 2000 rupees, making it 32,000 in all. I gave back the principal amount, but they insisted that with the interest, the payback came to 150,000 rupees. I lodged a complaint with the authorities, and that probably scared them,” Raut said.

Admitting that he had not yet paid the interest, he insisted the demanded interest was too high, at almost four times the principal amount. He went on to allege that the local moneylender was known for use of strong-arm methods to recover loans.

Meanwhile, police have detained one person in connection with the attack.

“The victim and his family members alleged he was attacked with a sword. However, it is yet to be confirmed, as we have not been able to confiscate the weapon as yet. We are still trying to locate it,” said P.D. Dongare, a police officer with Walagaon police.

The incident assumes significance as commercial money lending is banned in India unless it is done through some government ratified institution. Yet, farmers taking loans from private moneylenders is not uncommon in the rural parts of the country, where public sector banking infrastructure is inadequate.

India has officially admitted to the death of about 3,600 farmers over the last five years owing to huge debts.

Suicides in Maharashtra, especially in the Vidarbha region, crossed the 900 mark in 2006, despite efforts by New Delhi to ease the financial burden of the farmers. (ANI)