A 23- year- old Bhutanese woman, Tara Devi Ghalley, from Pemaling gewog in Samtse, committed suicide in Delhi on 5 July. The deceased first left for Delhi more than a year ago through the overseas program by the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources. After the ministry found that the jobs were not in line as per the mandates set by the ministry, the authorities repatriated the youths back to the country.
However, some of the youths decided to stay back voluntarily after finding themselves other employment opportunities, and signed an undertaking with the ministry stating that they are staying back on their own will. Tara Devi Ghalley had signed such an undertaking. She was working in a call center in Delhi.
The Head of Chancery at the Royal Bhutanese Embassy in Delhi, Ugen Chozom, said after receiving information and request from the Pemaling gup, the embassy assisted in following up with the Delhi police, and helped in sending the body back to Bhutan on 8 July.
According to Tara Devi’s roommate in Delhi, Sonam Choki, said that she stopped going to work since three or four months back and stayed in the house without finding any other job. “She stayed idle for three or four months without going to work, and since I am also working in one of the call centers, we are required to be very punctual, which Tara Devi was not. We work for different company, so I’m not sure whether she was dismissed or she decided on her own to discontinue working but she said that it was difficult for her to be punctual,” said Sonam.
Sonam said that she found the door was locked from inside when she and a friend reached home from work at 4 in the morning. “We knocked for almost an hour, but there was no response. Since there is a mini ventilation passage above the door, I suggested my friend that we open the door latch with the help of a mopping stick, and when we finally succeeded, I was the first one to walk inside and found her hanging from a ceiling. I never expected her to commit suicide,” recounted Sonam. She then called up the landlord and police and informed the officials at the embassy.
According to the Gup of Pemaling gewog, KR Ghalley, when Tara Devi last talked with her family members, she informed them that she would be returning back home on 15 July. The Gup said the family is poor and struggles to make ends meet. It has also been learnt that Tara Devi, after working in India, sent home a total of Nu 50,000 on different occasions.
The Gup, after learning from Tara Devi’s parents, also said that while communicating with her parents, she had not revealed the fact that she had stopped working. Instead the deceased had told her family that the company had not paid her for more than three months, and that was the reason given for returning home.
“Even if we are roommates, we don’t get to communicate much as I normally sleep during the daytime and head to work at night, so she never really showed any signs of unhappiness or mental issues, although she cried once when she expressed that she wants to go home and help her parents with the agricultural works, but did not have any money to return home. The Bhutanese friends here decided to help her with ticketing and financial arrangements if she really wanted to head back home, but she was very undecided. On the other hand, she also wanted to find another job and work here. I wasn’t aware that she told her parents she would be returning home on 15th July,” said Sonam.
After Tara Devi stopped working, all the rental and household expenses were borne by the roommates. Although the labour ministry is yet to receive the detailed post mortem report on the death, sources say that Tara Devi was suffering from depression for quite sometime.