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Suicide attempts haunt Chennai lodges

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CHENNAI: AT least eight people have attempted suicide inside lodges in the city over the past two days, of which three have died. The incidents have put hotel owners in a spot, for many of them are clueless of measures to be taken to avoid such cases.

“In many budget hotels, customers insist that rooms be cleaned only in their presence. So, often, room service workers leave when their knocks go unanswered. We do not know what happens behind closed doors,” says M Venkatasubbu, president of TN Hotels and Restaurants Association. This is exactly what happened in the latest incident, which happened on Tuesday.

When their knocks on the door went unanswered for a while, room service workers at a lodge in Chepauk alerted their manager. Later, the lodge authorities broke open the door to find a couple lying unconscious. Probe has revealed that the girl (21) was B.Com student and had attempted suicide with her lover, a 23-year-old man, as his parents were opposed to their relationship. While the girl has died, her lover is battling for life in a hospital.

In another incident, which came to light earlier this week, authorities of a hotel in Periamet realised there was foul smell emanating from a room on the fifth floor. The room’s door was broken down and decomposed bodies of a forty-year-old man and his aged mother were recovered. The woman was undergoing treatment for depression and the duo had come to Chennai for her medical needs. Police suspect they had committed suicide five days before their bodies were recovered.

In the third incident, reported Monday, a 38-year-old man attempted suicide with his wife, daughter and another woman believed to have been his girlfriend. It happened at a lodge in Triplicane on Sunday night. The man died on Monday morning while the other three victims are critical.

Psychologist B Elayaraj feels the reason why many choose to end life in a lodge is the anonymity and privacy such facilities offer. “There is less likelihood of someone interfering and stopping a person from ending his life in a hotel, as opposed to doing the same in their house or public place.”

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