A 75-year-old farmer from Rampur district in Uttar Pradesh, who was protesting against the Centre’s agricultural laws, died by suicide at the Ghazipur border on Saturday, PTI reported, citing the police.
A suicide note written in Gurmukhi script was recovered from Kashmir Singh, according to Deputy Superintendent of Police of Indirapuram Anshu Jain. In the purported suicide note, Singh expressed his anguish that though some people from Punjab died during the farmers’ protest, no one from Uttar Pradesh or Uttarakhand had sacrificed their life. He also wrote that the new laws made by the government were not in the interests of farmers.
“We received information that a person had died at the protest site in the morning, following which a police vehicle was sent,” said Superintendents of Police, City II Ghaziabad, Gyanendra Kumar, The Indian Express reported. “He was declared dead on arrival at the nearest hospital.”
Singh, who was a native of Bilaspur in Uttar Pradesh, requested the Sikh community to help his family marry off his two grand-daughters and to resolve the domestic problems being faced by his married daughter.
Bharatiya Kisan Union national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait expressed his profound grief at Singh’s death and demanded that the government provide a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to his family. He said the Narendra Modi government was testing the patience of farmers, even as 47 of them have died during the agitation against the farm laws.
This is the third suicide among protestors at the Delhi borders. A 65-year-old priest from Haryana had died on December 16, saying he was sacrificing his life “to express anger and pain against the government’s injustice”. A lawyer from Punjab was found dead on December 27 after he consumed pesticide.
Farm law protests
Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting at key entry points to Delhi for over a month against the laws now, withstanding temperatures dropping to two to three degrees Celsius.
The farmers fear the agricultural reforms will weaken the minimum support price mechanism under which the government buys agricultural produce, will lead to the deregulation of crop-pricing, deny them fair remuneration for their produce and leave them at the mercy of corporations.
The government, on the other hand, maintains that the new laws will give farmers more options in selling their produce, lead to better pricing, and free them from unfair monopolies. The law passed in September are meant to overhaul antiquated procurement procedures and open up the market, the government has claimed.
During the sixth meeting on December 30, the farmer organisations and the Centre reached an agreement on the decriminalisation of stubble burning and safeguarding electricity subsidies – two of the four matters. However, deadlock continues on the two main demands of farmers – repeal of three farm laws and a legal guarantee for minimum support price system.