Day after colleague’s wife took her life, Kingfisher staff rally behind family

A day after 45-year-old Sushmita Chakraborty, wife of a Kingfisher Airline engineer allegedly committed suicide at her residence in Manglapuri in Southwest Delhi, employees of the airline held a candle-light vigil at Jantar Mantar on Friday evening.

They staged a silent protest against non-payment of salaries for the past few months, which allegedly led their colleague's wife to take the extreme step.

"We feel for the family since Sushmita and Manas Chakraborty had been going through what we are facing. We haven't been paid our salaries for seven months and the financial burden is extremely difficult to handle," one of the protesters said.

From being unable to pay their children's school fees to managing their daily expenditures, the Kingfisher employees said they were at their wit's end. "I spent Rs 16 lakh on training and grooming to be a flight steward. The course is expensive. But what did I get in return? I joined and got a salary only for the first two months. It stopped thereafter. I don't know what I'll do next," one of them said.

Mukund, an engineer with the airlines, said: "I am married and have two children. I haven't received a single penny in the past seven months. The reason we are surviving is because we live in a joint family."

Sushmita was found hanging from the ceiling fan in her bedroom. In a half-page suicide note, she said she feared that her husband would lose his job.

Family sources said the second-semester fees of the couple's 18-year-old son Ajay, a BTech student in Assam, was pending.

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