Modi Sarkar Is Complicit In Gajendra Singh's Suicide
By Shehzad Poonawalla
22 April, 2015
The farmer, Ganjender Singh from Dausa, Rajasthan, who hanged himself at New Delhi's Jantar Mantar, where the Aam Admi Party was holding a rally, ironically to protest against the BJP's land acquisition bill, in full view of the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Dy.CM Manish Sisodia, only reflects the insensitivity of the state towards 65% of the population of this country. His unfortunate death is no less than a state complicit murder- right from the policies it adopts, to the unfair deal it dishes out to the farmers and then its attitude to carry on, in an almost non-chalant and callous manner, as CM Kejriwal and the Delhi police, answerable to the central government did, even if it involves walking right over their dead bodies!
If reports are to be believed there is an increase of 40% in the number of land conflicts and 80% in farm suicides in Beed and Marathwada. Western UP, a prosperous farm belt, is also reporting farmer suicides lately. With agricultural prices collapsing globally and the unseasonal rains leaving the rabi crops in north west India severely damaged, a major farm crisis is brewing. Times of India has reported that this year, Maharashtra has seen 600 hundred farmer suicides in just three months. 30 farmers have died in mere four days of April in North India. These figures are chilling. The ridiculously low compensation cheques handed out in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana, have added insult to injury.
And what seems to have pushed the farmers into suicide and agitational mode now, is the ordinance brought in by the Modi government.
A quick comparison of the amended legislation brought in by the Modi Sarkar vis a vis the 2013 Act passed by the previous government, shows the extent of unfairness perpetrated upon the farmers.
In his suicide note, Gajendra Singh re-iterated the reasons behind him (and many others like him) taking their lives. “My father threw me out of the house because my harvest was destroyed. I have three children" he lamented. Today's suicide, just as the hundreds of others, could have been prevented. What we needed was a sensitive state and system. A state that does not cut down agricultural credit but supports agricultural growth by strengthening rural credit. Yet, even after opening Jan Dhan Bank accounts the farmer gets no easy loans and big businessmen who default on loan repayments, can access thousands of crores of credit! We needed a system that provides basic insurance to farmers incase they have a failed or damaged crop. One that gives them the benefit of lakhs of crores of subsidies pumped in each year and not rich fertiliser companies! One that strengthens the co-operative movement, expands their market, provides them better access to scientific techniques and helps them develop alternate sources of income from allied activities like dairy farming and horticulture. Instead, we failed our farmers with a state machinery that watches on and continues with its cheap political theatrics, even as they hang themselves by the neck. We have given them a state that grabs their precious land and hands them over to wealthy corporates.
Gajendra ended his suicide note with the words "Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan" (hail the solider, hail the farmer) a slogan given by former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri. Gone are those days when the system and the state respected farmers and saw them as a stake holder in our national growth. Today, under Modi Sarkar, the slogan seems to be just this "Jao Jawan, Jao Kisan" (The soldier and the farmer can take a hike.)
Shehzad Poonawalla islawyer-activist engaged in politics and civil rights movement.
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