Days after a 29-year-old woman died by suicide due to losing gold and money in an online rummy game, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin ordered the formation of a committee to pass a state-centric emergency law against internet gambling.
The committee is to be headed by a retired High Court judge, K Chandru. He is famed for his judgements on issues of caste and gender, like the 2008 case where the bench allowed a woman to become a priest as she was the only legal heir and the case of the custodial death of a tribal man, Rajakannu, in 1993.
Pressure From Opposition
The opposition parties have also been putting pressure on the state government to take measures against the increasing number of deaths in the state caused by the issue of online gambling.
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), the main opposition for the ruling DMK, has also voiced its concern. Its coordinator, O Paneerselvam, has urged the state government to take some effective steps in curbing the problem responsible for getting "many families to the streets," as reported by News18.
The political wing of the Vanniyar community, the Paatali Makkal Katchi (PMK), had called for a protest against the prevalence of online gambling in the state on June 10. The President of PMK, Dr Anbumani Ramadoss, who was also the former Union Health Minister, stated that the government has failed to make amendments to the present law, even after the court had suggested it.
Emphasizing that 22 people had died by suicide in the state just in the last 10 months, he added that PMK has been campaigning for a regulatory law against online gambling and has submitted multiple memorandums to the state government but in vain.
What Had Happened?
Bhavani, a 29-year-old woman, residing in Manali New Town near Chennai, died by suicide on June 5 after losing money and gold in online gambling. She had a habit of indulging in online rummy for the past year and a half and had started investing more, expecting profits.
A BS graduate, Bhavani lost over Rs 10 lakhs in gambling, and according to the police, she lost over Rs 30,000 on her last day. She used to ask her friends and family to repay the debt.
On her last day, she had finished dinner at her mother's house and returned home, saying she would be back soon. When she didn't show up after a considerable amount of time, her husband went to check on her and found her dead. She was confirmed dead at the Government Stanley Medical College Hospital.
Online Gambling Issue Was Raised In Parliament
The issue of online gambling was also raised in the Rajya Sabha by BJP MP Sushil Kumar Modi, demanding that the government needs to regulate the online sphere of gaming and gambling. He said in a December 2021 session, "This industry has boomed, alluring youngsters to engage with it and get addicted. The screen-time spent on online gaming has gone up from 2.5 hours in pre-Covid times to 4 hours during the lockdown."
He added that the industry is booming, with the revenue rising to Rs 13,600 crore from 43.3 crore users just in 2020-21, and with a projection of Rs 29,000 crore from 65.7 crore users by 2024-25. He said that youngsters get attracted to it and then become addicted.
Also Read: Shocking! 29-Yr-Old Chennai Woman Ends Life After Losing Money In Online Gambling