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Farmer Suicide: nothing in india is real unless it happens in Delhi

New Delhi,Gaurav Sharma(IANS) : The witty Bhagwant Mann had finished his speech, and his AAP colleague Kumar Vishwas was tearing into the Narendra Modi government over its land ordinance when the AAP leader spotted a man seemingly hanging from a Neem tree at a party rally here on Wednesday.

Halting his speech for a while, Kumar Vishwas loudly ordered the police to get the man – who turned out be Gajendra Singh, a farmer from Rajasthan – off the tree.

The venue was Jantar Mantar, a popular protest site in the heart of the capital. The Aam Aadmi Party had called the rally against the government’s land ordinance.

I looked up from the media stage. The bearded man with a burly moustache, sporting a colourful turban, was perched precariously on the branch of the tree.

From that distance it looked as if he was holding on two branches with his outstretched hands.

When police did not respond, the AAP leader asked AAP volunteers to do the rescue act.

Little did he – or Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, seated on the dais – know that the father of three was already dead, having tied his scarf to a tree bench, to end a life that his suicide note said was now worthless after the destruction of his crops by untimely rains.

Three volunteers, among an estimated 4,000 who had packed the square to hear Kejriwal, quickly climbed the tree. Journalists began to move towards the tree as well.

In no time, the spotlight shifted from the Aam Aadmi Party stage to the tree. The volunteers untied the scarf to see if they could somehow save him.

All hell broke loose when Gajendra Singh’s limp body fell from a considerable height with a loud thud as the activists couldn’t hold on to him. Frenzied AAP members began shouting anti-police slogans.

I was among the first journalists to see the man. He was breathless. The tongue was slightly protruding.

One of the three men who had climbed the tree himself lost consciousness, probably after he realised that the man may not be alive.

Others clambered up and brought him down after sprinkling water on him.

In the meantime, some AAP members rushed to the dais and spoke, in hushed tones, to Kumar Vishwas and then to Kejriwal about the unfolding tragedy.

Before police reached the site, photo and video journalists shoved each other to take pictures.

There was confusion: Was he dead?

Amid all the drama, Kumar Vishwas continued to speak. AAP activists rushed Gajendra Singh to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, about two kilometres away.

There, doctors declared the man dead.

At the end of the rally, Kejriwal expressed sadness over the incident, implying he still did not know that the man was dead. He declared that he would go to the hospital with his deputy, Manish Sisodia.

By then, the incident had ignited a political storm. It was ironic that a rally called to protest a farmers’ issue witnesses the death of yet one more Indian farmer.

(Author: Gaurav Sharma can be reached on gaurav.s@ians.in)

Latest updates:

23:30 IST Wednesday, 22 April 2015

As police watched the whole drama, a couple of AAP workers climbed the tree and tried to rescue him, but by then the noose had stifled Singh, whose body hanged for a few moments before falling. He was rushed to the nearby RML hospital where he was declared brought dead.

The farmer, who was heard shouting slogans against the land bill, had left a suicide note in which he had claimed he was disowned by his father after the family suffered huge crop loss due to unseasonal rains.

Describing the suicide of a farmer at his rally venue as “extremely sad incident”, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today ordered a magisterial inquiry into the matter.

Delhi Government has asked District Magistrate of the area (New Delhi District) to probe into the entire incident.

The government will await the inquiry report before any further reaction.

Kejriwal also offered condolence to the family of Gajendra Singh, the Rajasthan farmer who hanged himself at Jantar Mantar today amid full public view while AAP was holding farmers rally.

“The loss of life of this farmer in distress is an extremely sad incident and no words can fulfil the irreparable loss caused to Gajendra’s family,” Kejriwal said in a statement.

Government also clarified that they do not wish to indulge into any blame game.

22:30 IST Wednesday, 22 April 2015

An AAP volunteer who claimed he had unsuccessfully tried to prevent the farmer from ending his life at today’s rally at Jantar Mantar said he had little time to mount a rescue even as he blamed the policemen for not helping him.

Joginder, an AAP volunteer from Chandigarh, said he had climbed the tree to try and save the 41-year-old farmer, Gajendra Singh from Rajasthan, as the latter tried to hang himself during the party’s rally against NDA’s land Bill.

“I was standing close by when I saw that somebody had climbed the tree. Although I was not sure what he (Singh) was doing, I suspected his actions and decided to act in order to save him,” said Joginder, who charged that police at the spot had made no attempt to rescue the farmer.

Singh had tried to draw the attention of the crowd before taking the extreme step as he waved a broom which he had been holding from atop the tree.

Joginder said it was not possible to scale the tree and help Singh, all in a fraction of seconds.

21:30 IST Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Autopsy of the body has been done and it has been handed to the family

Postmortem has finished, body has been handed over to farmer’s family: BS Bassi, Delhi CP on Jantar Mantar incident pic.twitter.com/9P38IPvxml

— ANI (@ANI_news) April 22, 2015

An FIR is being registered. The case will be transferred to the crime branch: Rajat Bhagat ( PRO, Delhi Police) on Jantar Mantar incident

— ANI (@ANI_news) April 22, 2015

20:32 IST Wednesday, 22 April 2015
Gopal Singh, the victim’s uncle, said, “Gajendra was under stress and disturbed due to loss of crop.” “He took the extreme step due to unexpected loss. He earned his livelihood through farming and after the loss, he was disturbed,” Gopal said.

The Dausa district administration, however, countered the family’s claim, saying, loss of crop “does not appear to be the reason” behind it. “Loss to crops does not appear to be a reason of suicide.
His family’s financial condition is fine and they have farm houses and his uncle is the local village sarpanch,” Dausa’s Additional District Collector, Kailash Sharma said.

Kailash further claimed that “not a single farm in Baswa Tehsil, where the farmer’s village falls, is entitled for compensation. During the survey conducted by the district administration to assess loss to crops, it was found that the damage in all the farms in that Tehsil was below 33 per cent therefore no farmer was eligible for compensation.” Also, Sub-Divisional Officer Bandikui, Dayanand Sharma, claimed that “Gajendra never approached the authority to demand any compensation.

19:59 IST Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Even as political bickering continues over death of farmer Gajendra Singh, AAP leader Ashutosh made an insenstitive comment. He said that that next time he will ask CM Kejriwal to climb the tree and save the person. After social media furore, Ashutosh apologised for his comment.

18:55 IST Wednesday, 22 April 2015

PM has now reacted to the incident. He tweeted

Gajendra’s death has saddened the Nation. We are all deeply shattered & disappointed. Condolences to his family.

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 22, 2015

At no point must the hardworking farmer think he is alone. We are all together in creating a better tomorrow for the farmers of India.

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 22, 2015

17:26 IST Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Delhi police has completely debunked AAP’s charge that they were mute spectator when the farmer was committing suicide.

Enquiry is on. All allegation are wrong. Police did take various steps: MK Meena (Joint CP) on Jantar Mantar incident pic.twitter.com/SmjR7zhQ3b

— ANI (@ANI_news) April 22, 2015

When the farmer climbed the tree, some other people also went behind him, a series of events took place.We are looking into it: MK Meena

— ANI (@ANI_news) April 22, 2015

But AAP leadership is not convinced.

Abhi maine MK Meena ji ka bayaan suna…jhooth bolte hai woh: Ashutosh (AAP) on Jantar Mantar incident pic.twitter.com/65J6oGxzva

— ANI (@ANI_news) April 22, 2015

Hamara worker jo upar chadha usko chahdne ki training nahi thi, police ko toh train kiya jaata hai: Ashutosh on Janta Mantar incident

— ANI (@ANI_news) April 22, 2015

Our volunteers took the farmer to the hospital, not the police: Ashutosh (AAP) on Jantar Mantar incident pic.twitter.com/665CkCDNrZ

— ANI (@ANI_news) April 22, 2015

16:40 IST Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Increasingly the unfortunate incident is snowballing into a major political controversy. Home Minister Rajnath Singh has expressed deep regrets. He said

Deeply pained to hear news of farmer committing suicide at Jantar Mantar.Instructed Delhi CP to institute an inquiry into it: Rajnath Singh

— ANI (@ANI_news) April 22, 2015

BJP has put the entire blame on AAP leadership. Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay said

AAP workers who were wearing AAP caps helped the farmer climb the tree: Satish Upadhyay, BJP pic.twitter.com/sT79LeXF0M

— ANI (@ANI_news) April 22, 2015

Rahul Gandhi has blasted the Modi government

Delhi: Rahul Gandhi at Lady Hardinge Hospital, farmer’s body brought here pic.twitter.com/6QPmwmFaaY

— ANI (@ANI_news) April 22, 2015

Modi Govt helps their crony corporates. In Parl they said suicides arent taking place: Rahul Gandhi pic.twitter.com/hWXKdwEGdb

— ANI (@ANI_news) April 22, 2015

15:47 IST Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Want to ask AAP, what is more important, Life or politics? : Sambit Patra

Addressing media, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “Very painful to know that politics has become more important than human life.”

He further said, “The whole thing was recorded by the media but no leader from AAP got down from the stage. We want to ask AAP, why didn’t they stop their speeches when they heard that the farmer had died.”

“Humanity died right where revolutions took place. Want to ask AAP, which is more important? Life or politics?” Patra added.

15:41 IST Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Speaking to media, Manish Sisodia said, “When rallies happen people usually stand on trees, and thats what we thought: Somnath Bharti, AAP on Jantar Mantar incident

15:37 IST Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Protest launched outside the hospital.

15:10 IST Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Congress leader Sachin Pilot said, “Don’t want to politicise this issue, but sad that such an environment has been created in nation. I heard that the rally continue and no one tried to stop or save him (farmer).”

15:05 IST Wednesday, 22 April 2015

A purported suicide note was recovered from the spot in which he mentioned that he is a farmer and his crops have been destroyed. He has also wrote his family’s contact number.

15:00 IST Wednesday, 22 April 2015

AAP rally: Arvind Kejriwal attacks PM Modi, says his government is for the ‘super rich’

Attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said that the government is for the super-rich and is anti-farmers.

Addressing a rally at Jantar Mantar, Kejriwal said, “The people of this country voted for the Modi government with a lot of hope and trust, but in the last one year, farmers feel that the Narendra Modi-government is against them.” Read more

14:48 IST Wednesday, 22 April 2015

This ordinance (Land ordinance) has been brought in for ‘super rich’.

14:12 IST Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Man attempts suicide by hanging himself from a tree

11:30 IST Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi on said communication about the AAP notification issued to police to keep the media away from the rally held at Jantar Mantar was confidential.

“Communication with governmental agencies and police are confidential. So, I will not like to discuss that. Media, if identified, can go to any function,” Bassi told ANI.

0:40 IST Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Reports say AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal has asked the Delhi Police to keep the media away from the protest site.

10:05 IST Wednesday, 22 April 2015

BJP pursuing anti-farmer policies, obliged by industrial houses: AAP

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is pursuing the anti-farmer policies because they have been obliged by the industrial houses.

“The BJP government pursuing anti-farmer policies because they have been obliged by the industrial houses. It portrays that BJP wants to help the corporate who eventually helped them during the elections, which is why they are trying to force this anti-farmer ordinance (land ordinance) as law,” said AAP spokesperson, Ashutosh.

Massive Crowed Supporting for Farmers #AAPKisanRally at Jantar Mantar. pic.twitter.com/la8T2YPsA8

— Aam Aadmi Party (@AamAadmiParty) April 22, 2015

9:28 IST Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Delhi: AAP to hold a rally against land acquisition ordinance at Jantar Mantar. pic.twitter.com/0Ww4ffEP7Q

— ANI (@ANI_news) April 22, 2015

“The BJP says that they have made necessary changes in the Act. This is nothing but a joke. What compelled the BJP to change the provisions of the Act, just after nine months in power. This is nothing, but a move to benefit its industrialist friends,” Singh.

Taking a jibe at Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, Kumar Vishwas, who had contested against the Gandhi scion from Amethi, said he should first explain how Robert Vadra benefitted in Haryana.

“He has come back from a vacation and his entertainment tour. The leader has been talking about the welfare of the farmers,” Vishwas said.

(With agency inputs)

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