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‘Nothing is more important than a farmer’s life’

‘Nothing is more important than a farmer’s life’

The suicide of Gajender Singh, the farmer from Dausa district of Rajastan during an AAP rally to protest against the controversial land acquisition Bill in Jantar Mantar on Wednesday have triggered a huge uproar.

The 41-year old farmer hanged himself to death before thousands of people after throwing down a suicide note saying that he suffered failed crops and was unable to feed his three children. The Aam Aadmi Party had organized a rally in Jantar Mantar near to the Parliament to protest against Modi government’s proposal which makes it easier to buy farmland for development projects. The controversial Bill termed as ‘anti-poor’ would benefit the industrialists and deprive millions of farmers of their land. The farmer’s suicide brings to light the deepening agrarian crisis in the country following two months of unseasonal rain that destroyed huge swathes of crops across North India. Farmers have hung themselves to death unable to tackle the issue and the governments in power have been on a backfoot over the matter.

The incident is likely to be politicized with different parties coming forward to express their objection inside and outside the Parliament. The Opposition parties have raised the matter in both houses of the parliament. The BJP accused AAP of being ‘insensitive’ and compelling Singh to commit suicide. The Delhi police have also filed an FIR reporting the same. The AAP on the other hand called it the Union government’s move to ‘target the AAP using Delhi police’. The party accused BJP of continuing with the anti-farmer policies and backing the corporates. According to the Congress, Singh’s death reflected the plight of farmers in the BJP-led Rajastan and that they were ‘punished by the Modi government’. The party also demanded FIRs against Modi and Kejriwal, holding them “most responsible” for the suicide.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the farmer’s suicide saying incident was ‘saddening and shattered the whole nation’. He said that the government would take steps to prevent farmer suicides and that both the government as well as the Opposition should be discussing the matter together. Modi added that ‘nothing was more important than a farmer’s life’. Farmer suicides have been gripping the country's villages for a while now. The media too doesn’t report such incidents. It’s yet to be known whether Singh had any issues other than agricultural crisis.

In the 1990s, Rajiv Goswami, a student at Delhi University, had attempted self-immolation to protest against the then Prime Minister V P Singh’s Mandal Commission recommendations for job reservations for backward castes leading to larger protests. The BJP had then played up the matter. The political and media attention and importance given to Goswami who was educated and belonged to the elite class, couldn’t be expected in the case of Singh. The Centre has continually ignored farmer suicides showing plain negligence on the part of government. The incident is therefore, also a blow to the media as well as the political parties who generally aren’t aware of the ground realities in Indian villages. The farmers who form a major portion of the country’s population should be treated equally and their issues should be given the deserved attention. The unnecessary and meaningless political controversies would not do the society any good.

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