Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 27
A lawyer from Fazilka is believed to have poisoned himself at the Tikri border, a site of the ongoing farmers’ protests—at least the third such incident to be reported in the last two weeks.
Sources said he was immediately taken to Rohtak’s Post Graduate Institute of Medical Science. Sources also said he had previously written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticising the three controversial agriculture reforms the farmers are protesting.
It remains unknown if his act was directly connected with the ongoing protests.
At least two other such incidents reported in the past two weeks.
A 65-year-old farmer tried to kill himself at the Singhu border—another prominent site of the ongoing protests—on December 21. A prominent head priest of a gurdwara in Karnal shot himself dead at the protests last week. His suicide note attributed his action to the ongoing farmer protests. The letter said he could not bear to see the plight of protesting farmers.
A 22-year-old farmer who was part of the protests killed himself in Bathinda’s Dayalpura Mirza village a few days after the incident. In this case, the reason for the act remains unknown.
Farmers mainly Punjab and Haryana have been protesting three controversial farm laws Parliament passed in September. Farmers primarily fear that the laws would render the APMC, or the mandi system, weakened and would leave them open to exploitation. Another objection is the clause that allows contract farming, which they say could lead to losing their lands to big corporations. Centre disputes both claims.
Farmers laid siege to Delhi in November—they blocked national highways leading into Delhi and have since refused to budge. Their numbers have continued to swell since, as farmers from across the country began joining the protests. Talks with the central government have so far yielded no results, with both parties sticking to their guns—farmers want a complete repeal of the laws and another legislation to promise a minimum support price, while the central government has offered several “concessions” short of rescinding the laws.
Farmers’ unions meanwhile claim that the central government has been trying to malign the movement by calling them variously as “Khalistanis” and “urban naxals”. The central government meanwhile accuses opposition and what they claim are vested political interests of misleading protesters.