KOLLAM: Fighting the battle against HIV disease and social stigma for about two decades, 25-year-old Benson, the last member of a family of four to be diagnosed with HIV for the first time in Kollam, committed suicide over frustration on Saturday night. Benson was found hanging in a relative’s house in Kottarakkara.
Bency and Benson are children of AIDS-infected parents C K Chandy and Princy. Chandy died in 1997 and Princy in 2000, after which the children came under the care of maternal grandparents, Geeevarghese Johny, an ex-serviceman, and Salamma. Bency, died of encephalitis in 2010 at age 15 at SAT hospital in Thiruvananthapuram. After a few years, Johny passed away.
Benson, a college dropout, was taking care of his cousin’s business. According to the police, as per his relative’s statement, he committed suicide over a love failure. There is no other suspicions regarding his death, said police. Benson was facing no physical complications as he was undergoing proper treatment. Meanwhile, he fell in love with a girl. He had been in depression for a week following an altercation with his girlfriend, said his relative.
“I like the one who loves me for my shortcomings rather than the one who loves me for my talent,” these are the lines that Benson wrote on Facebook a few days ago. The siblings caught national media attention in 2003 when they were denied admission to the school in their native village. When the children were admitted to a government LP school near their home, the guardians of other students in the school protested and even threatened to take away their wards. Following this, their grandparents and the children organised several protests for their right to education.
Former Union Minister Sushma Swaraj, during her visit to the district in 2003, met the two siblings at Kollam Press Club. She hugged the two HIV positive children in a meeting here. The picture grabbed global media attention against the ongoing social stigma over HIV spread.
No other suspicions
Benson, a college dropout, was taking care of his cousin’s business. The police said as per his relative’s statement, he committed suicide over love failure. There are no other suspicions regarding his death, said the police.