Dilli Chalo | Farmers protest during PM’s Mann Ki Baat address as lawyer dies at stir site

Land will not be taken away, says Rajnath Singh.

A 55-year-old advocate from Punjab died in yet another case of alleged suicide at the farmers’ agitation site in Tikri and demonstrations were held at several places across the country with protesters clanging utensils during the airing of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann Ki Baat programme on Sunday. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, however, reiterated at a government function in Himachal Pradesh that no one could take away farmers land from them through contract farming.

At Tikri, Amarjit Singh, a lawyer in the Fazilka district, allegedly consumed a poisonous substance at Bahadurgarh and was declared dead at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences at Rohtak, where he was rushed.

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“He took his life at Naya Gaon Chowk in Bahadurgarh by consuming some poisonous substance. We are waiting for his family to come to ascertain the cause behind him taking the extreme step. We are not in possession of any suicide note,” said Inspector Surender Kumar, Station House Officer, Sadar Bahadurgarh.

The farmer unions, however, claimed that Amarjit reportedly left behind a suicide note in support of the ongoing agitation.

All-India Kisan Sangharsh Co-ordination Committee organising secretary Avik Shah, in a tweet, said he was shocked to learn about the suicide. He said that he was disturbed to know that the police were denying suicide and it was an attempt to manage headlines.

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Sikh priest Baba Ram Singh had allegedly shot himself at Singhu border a week ago saying that he was perturbed over the plight of the agitating farmers.

As the protest entered its 32nd day, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal visited the Singhu border protests site during the Kirtan Darbar organised at the Guru Teg Bahadur Memorial to commemorate the martyrdom of Char Sahibzada and Mata Gujri. 

Speaking at the venue, Mr Kejriwal attacked the BJP-led Centre over the three farm laws. “All the farmers sitting on protest with their elderly and children in the extreme cold are here because it is a question of their survival. This has become a fight to the finish; when farming goes into the hands of the corporates, it will cease to exist,” he said.

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The AIKSCC, in a press statement, said farmers, workers and other sections of people assembled at thousands of places in response to the call from the unions to clang vessels during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Mann Ki Baat” broadcast against his indifference to farmers.

“While the farmers demand government investment in agriculture infrastructure and food processing, the government refuses to help farmers’ development and plans to spend crores of rupees to help corporates and multinational companies to invest in Indian agriculture. This is the path of self-destruction, not atmanirbharta (self-reliance),” said the statement. 

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, in an address to mark three years of the Himachal Pradesh government, said people with vested interests were spreading rumours to create misunderstanding that the minimum support price (MSP) scheme would end, but the facts were contrary.

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“It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who accepted the recommendations of Swaminathan Commission report on MSP. Now it is announced under this new system. The MSP for Rabi crops has already been announced after the promulgation of new laws,” said Mr. Singh. 

He reiterated that no one could take away farmers’ land from them. Mr. Singh said misinformation was being spread that farmers’ land would be taken away through contract farming.

(Those in need of help can contact Sanjivini, Society for Mental Health over telephone: 011-4076 9002.)

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