On Saturday, 69-year-old Vinod Pandey, standing in a queue at a Sagar bank for over two hours, collapsed. Nobody left the queue to help the retired BSNL employee, not even after he gestured for help. The only sensitivity somebody showed was to call for an ambulance.
However, help could arrive only after half an hour, and by the time Pandey could be rushed to the hospital, he was dead.
“This is really shocking — that people in a place like Sagar could be so insensitive,” Pandey’s son Vinay, who is associated with LIC, told Hindustan Times.
The Centre’s decision to demonetise the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 banknotes has been causing hardships to people across the country. In their desperation to get money from ATMs or banks, people seem to be getting increasingly frustrated, especially when their efforts go in vain. And this seems to be taking a toll on their sensitivity as well.
Death of at least four people in MP can be linked to demonetisation
Pandey’s story is not the only one — the death of at least four people in Madhya Pradesh can be linked, directly or indirectly, to the Centre’s decision. In Betul, an Army man was allegedly robbed of the Rs 100 notes he was carrying and was thrown off a train. In Morena, a woman suffering from severe joint pain chose to end her life on Thursday when her husband failed to get medicines as chemist stores refused to accept the now-defunct notes. In Chhatarpur, a 70-year-old farmer hanged himself, allegedly after he failed to exchange the demonetised notes for at least three days. He desperately needed the money for seeds and fertiliser.
“As far as suicides are concerned, the reaction from a person depends on how he perceives the situation. If he perceives the situation as a catastrophe, then his reaction will be governed by a feeling of terror or being left behind. Hence, different people react as per different perceptions,” senior psychologist Vinay Mishra told Hindustan Times.
However, Mishra said people being unhelpful or uncaring is far more surprising.
“I think people are imagining themselves in an almost do-or-die situation. Also, in emergency situations, we also see our civic sense or sense of commitment taking a back seat. If there are 100 people in a queue and somebody is in need of help, a person may assume that it is not his responsibility but of the other 99 to take care of that somebody. The person may also feel that his family is far more important than that somebody in need,” Mishra said.
State Congress spokesperson JP Dhanopia said, “There is a chaos in the entire country. Peoples’ lives have come to a halt. Everybody is desperately looking for some money so that they can get their work done. Hence, there may be some insensitive reactions.”
Another Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi said, “Insensitivity and intolerance both are growing in the country. The ruling party is responsible for the same.”
However, state BJP leader Dr Hitesh Bajpai differed. “The Prime Minister’s decision may have caused inconvenience to some but it is wrong to say that somebody lost his life because of the decision.”