Four members of a Dalit family committed suicide by jumping into a canal in Faridkot after holding their neighbours responsible for the extreme step, police said on Thursday.
They were residents of Society Nagar Basti, a poor locality of Faridkot.
The bodies of Jagtar Singh, 50, and his wife Salwinder Kaur, 42, were recovered from the Rajasthan feeder in Muktsar, 30 km away, on Thursday evening. The bodies of their daughters Parveen, 18, and Harbhajan Kaur, 19, are yet to be traced.
Police said Jagtar did manual labour, while his wife prepared pickles that he sold on a cart. The family did not have a regular source of income. While Parveen was a student, Harbhajan was married to Kuldeep Singh.
A month ago, the family had a fight over a minor issue with their neighbours, the police said. Jagtar lodged a complaint after he claimed the neighbours threatened to harm his daughters.
Kuldeep Singh said the family had gone to pay homage at the shrine of Sufi saint Baba Farid on Wednesday evening. A five-day annual fair called the Baba Farid Aagman Purb, which concludes on Friday, is on in the town.
When they did not respond to repeated calls, Harbhajan Kaur’s husband, Kuldeep Singh, came to check on the family but found the house locked. Later, he said he found the suicide note in Punjabi.
Police sources said the name of Faridkot planning board chairman and local Akali leader Harjit Singh Bhoolwalan was also in the suicide note.
Senior superintendent of police DS Mann said police acted on Jagtar’s complaint last month and arrested the accused. They were later released on bail.
The suicide note will be sent to forensic experts, the police added.