Five members of a family in Karnataka’s Belagavi were found dead on Saturday, October 23, in their residence in Boragal village in Hukkeri taluk. The police suspect that 46-year-old Gopal Haadimani, a former army man, and his four children took their lives over the demise of Jaya, Gopal’s wife and the mother of his children. Jaya had passed away due to health complications from COVID-19.
The eldest of the children, Sowmya, was 19 years old while the youngest was eight-year-old Srujan. The other two children were Shweta (16) and Sakshi (11). The Sankeshwara Police are investigating the deaths and have registered a case of unnatural death.
Gopal’s wife Jaya, who had tested positive for the coronavirus, had passed away on July 6 this year due to black fungus. According to police, Gopal was unable to cope with the death of his wife, and even had celebrated her birthday on Friday night, October 22, before poisoning his four children and himself.
Police were informed by the neighbours about the death. Police have recovered a death note, which had instructions for conducting their final rites. In the note, Gopal allegedly said that ‘no one is responsible for the death of his children and himself.’ He had also reportedly kept Rs 20,000 cash beside the note for the final rites to be conducted.
In a similar tragedy, a couple in Mangaluru died by suicide in August over fears of developing COVID-19 complications. However, tests conducted after their death showed that they were not infected by the virus.
Other than the disease itself, the medical community has spoken about the mental health toll on every section of society that the pandemic has brought on.
Until now the state has reported 41 deaths due to COVID-19 depression, including five deaths that came to light on Saturday. The deaths have happened due to the fear of infection, losing dear ones and financial loss due to the pandemic. Udupi district in Karnataka tops the deaths related to COVID-19 depression with 11 cases while Bengaluru is in the second position with nine deaths.
The Karnataka government, while taking serious note of the deaths due to COVID-19 depression, has appealed to people not to lose hope and take extreme steps. Govind Karjol, Minister for Water Resources, who is also in-charge of Belagavi district has made the appeal.