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Tamil Nadu girl, who picks trash, returns Rs 58,000 to owner, cops & netizens doff their hats | Chennai News – Times of India

Tamil Nadu girl, who picks trash, returns Rs 58,000 to owner, cops & netizens doff their hats | Chennai News - Times of India


Tirunelveli SP N Manivannan felicitates Mariammal, who belongs to the Kattu Naicker community that makes a living through begging or selling small wares on the streets, on Friday.

TIRUNELVELI: It’s a rags-to-riches story of a different kind. Not one that’s measured by the value of the currency one holds, but by the abiding human values of honesty and integrity even in penury.
When 19-year-old G Mariammal, a ragpicker whose earnings even in the best of times don’t cross Rs 300 a day, spotted a purse with wards of currency and a smartphone on Wednesday, she didn’t sit down to count her luck or the money, but took it straight to the Mukkudal police station in Tirunelveli district where cops found Rs 58,210 in it.
On Friday, Tirunelveli district superintendent of police N Manivannan felicitated Mariammal, the last of the five daughters of Ganapathy, 45, and Selvi, 40, for her honesty. The family belongs to the Kattu Naicker community, an impoverished nomadic tribe that makes a living through begging or selling smallwares on the streets of Tamil Nadu. All her elder sisters are married and she lives with her parents. They are among the 32 families from the community residing at Ambedkar Nagar in Tirunelveli town.
Like many others in her community, she could not continue schooling after Class V as getting a community certificate was a challenge. She dropped out and turned to rag picking. Her family is among the many that cannot afford a mobile phone but is loaded with debts. Since she does not have brothers, her family is saddled with Rs 3 lakh debt incurred in getting her four sisters married.
Around 3pm on Wednesday Mariammal, her aunt P Selvi, 28, and six other women were collecting rags atCheranmahadevi. The teenager found the purse and deposited it along with paper, plastic wastes and metal scarp in her sack. “Suddenly the purse started vibrating and we found money and an expensive phone inside it,” says Selvi who has Rs 2 lakh debt.
The women immediately took it to the police station. “We know the value of hard-earned money. The person who missed it could have been rushing for a medical emergency or may have saved it to buy something,” Selvi said. “We were not interested in knowing what was in it. We are happy that we returned it to the rightful owner,” she added.
The Mukkudal police felicitated them and gave them a lamp. The owner of the purse gave them Rs 1,000 as a token of appreciation. On Friday, a correspondent of a private school in Kodaikanal rewarded Mariammal and Selvi with a cash prize of Rs 10,000. Their noble act has also won appreciation on social media, which, unfortunately, the women are not aware of due to lack of access to internet.

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