Peasants committing suicides are cowards and criminals — said BJP minister

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Gajendra Singh, a farmer from Rajasthan, his crops ruined by rains, hanged himself from a tree at an AAP rally here on 22 April just before Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addressed thousands against the controversial land ordinance. The unfortunate event was captured live by the electronic media. It took place at Jantar Mantar in the heart of the city where thousands from Delhi and other states had turned up to denounce the land bill at a mass meeting called by the AAP. A suicide note in Hindi found at the spot said the man was taking his life because untimely rains had destroyed his crops and ruined him. Immediately after the incident, political blame game ensued with the leaders of various ruling parties slinging mud at each other for the heart-rending incident.

But the most ‘startling” comment came from O P Dhankar, BJP agriculture minister of Haryana. He described the peasants who commit suicide as cowards and criminals not worthy of help from the government. Playing a second fiddle to such politicians devoid of conscience are the self-styled economists in the pay roll of the ruling monopolists. Swaminathan A Aiyer wrote in his column in the Times of India dated 10 May 2015 that “Everybody loves farm suicides” because “Many states now compensate suicide-hit families, delighting moneylenders who had lent to these families and can now use muscle to claw back their dues from the compensation money.” He further added that “presenting farm suicides as a single mass tragedy can win awards for journalists, TRPs for TV anchors, donations for NGOs opposing commercial crops and globalization, slogans for leftists attributing everything to class war, and votes for opposition parties.” So the media, according to him, is highlighting farm suicides. This “erudite” person has then made a comment that would make even a donkey laugh. “The overwhelming cause of suicide is mental stress, not financial stress. Many suicides (notably in Andhra Pradesh) were of farmers who borrowed heavily to drill tubewells that quickly ran dry. Free electricity in many states (including AP) has greatly lowered water tables, ruining tubewells. Thus ‘‘free electricity causes suicide”, observes this ‘celebrated economist-columnist’. The government might think of awarding a higher “Padma” award to him for such path-breaking discoveries.

On the other hand, Dhankar who earlier headed the BJP’s Kisan Cell, and is on record to have condemned the previous UPA government for not doing enough for farmers, denied that any farmer had committed suicide due to crop damage. But the fact is that after scores of debt-ridden farmers saw their winter crops damaged by unseasonal hailstorms and rains in states such as Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab, there were reports of a string of suicides. The governments irrespective of hues whose brazenly anti-peasant policies have pushed the poverty-stricken hapless peasants to take recourse to such extreme steps are unfazed. On top of it, politicians like Dhankar who have ridden to power with the backing of the exploitative monopolists and are committed to serve their sinister class interest as their faithful subservient and in exchange are allowed to enjoy pelf and power do not feel even a fig ashamed for making such most atrocious remarks.

As per the latest report, one peasant commits suicide in every 38 minutes, 47 in a day. The overall number of peasants’ suicide has crossed 3 lakhs. And power-greedy anti-people bourgeois politicians like Dhankar have gone to the extent of even shunning the typical hoodwinking practice of the hypocrites to shed crocodile tears for public consumption and instead have been showing audacity to pass such derogatory remarks against the wretched impoverished pauperized peasants who being unable to secure any help or assistance from the power that be are ending their lives en masse. Time has come when the destitute peasants must understand that committing suicide would allow these heartless spineless politicians to thrive and prosper at their cost. They must close their ranks and unleash a massive organized movement to force the autocratic government yield to their righteous demand to live and dislodge persons like Dhankar from the public offices

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