Farmers’ protest: Man poisons himself at Singhu border

Tribune News Service
Sonepat, January 9

A 40-year-old man from Fatehgarh Saheb who was part of the ongoing protests at Singhu border killed himself on Saturday, sources said—the fourth incident of its kind from the protests that are now well over a month old.

His Aadhaar card identifies the latest victim as Amrinder Singh, a farmer. Singh is believed to have poisoned himself. Not much else is known about the case.

This is the fourth such instance from the protests that first began in September, when Parliament passed three controversial laws it claims is aimed at reforming agriculture. 

The protests came to Delhi’s doorstep on November 26, with farmers laying siege to the national capital. Farmers have been demanding a complete repeal of the three laws, and have held eight rounds of talks with the central government with no signs of breakthrough.

Over 50 farmers have died due to various reasons since the protests began, and plummeting temperature expose many others to similar risk. But farmers say they will agree to nothing short of a complete rescinding of the three laws and have accused the central government of trying to parry around the key demands.

The central government meanwhile says it is is open “alternatives”, but remains firm on not repealing the laws. Neither side has so far climbed down from their original demands.

Farmers fear that the new laws will eventually weaken the APMC system, and leave them shortchanged by private players. They also fear that the clause allowing contract farming could open themselves to exploitation by corprate houses.


NGOs meanwhile have been holding camps at the protests site to help deal with mental distress and burnout.

“So many farmers have died during this agitation, some of them claimed their own lives. While they may have a strong determination, but the extreme cold and pent-up emotions, coupled with sedentary lifestyle at present as they are not going to fields, is making them psychologically vulnerable,” said Sanya Kataria, a clinical psychologist and a volunteer at the camp organised by US-based NGO, United Sikhs.

“These farmers have been sitting for over 40 days on a national highway as part of this agitation. While most can withstand the physical rigour and biting cold as they are used to working hard, some of them have fallen prey to anxiety, depression and also hopelessness coupled with lack of self-esteem and feeling of frustration. It is a dangerous combination,” she told PTI.

So, problems like attention deficiency, restlessness, headaches are common symptoms being seen in those who have chosen to visit the camp for counselling, Kataria said.

In some cases, there is an emotional burnout from extreme stress and that is what “we attempt to detect early” through sessions, so that they won’t attempt or even contemplate taking any extreme step, she said. — With PTI


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