Updated: January 21, 2021 4:09:43 pm
A 42-year-old farmer from Haryana allegedly committed suicide by consuming a poisonous substance at Tikri border on Tuesday night. The farmer, Jai Bhagwan Rana, is the fifth person to take his own life at the border protests, where thousands of farmers have gathered for almost two months now.
Bhartiya Kisan Union also claimed more than 100 farmers have died in this period of natural causes or in road accidents.
Police said Rana consumed sulphas tablets around 7-8 pm at Tikri border and collapsed on the road, following which he was rushed to Sanjay Gandhi Hospital, where he died during treatment.
Rana hailed from Pakasma village in Rohtak and had joined the protest two weeks ago with his friends. He is survived by his parents, three brothers, wife and an 11-year-old daughter.
He wrote in a purported suicide note: “I am a small person. Many farmers have taken to the streets to protest against farm laws. The government says it’s a matter of only two-three states but there are farmers from all over the country. It has come to a deadlock where both farmers and the government aren’t in agreement.” He also demanded that farmer leaders from each state come to Delhi and give their opinion on the farm laws to the government.
Police said they found the note with Rana’s name and are verifying details.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Outer) A Koan said. “A man was taken to Sanjay Gandhi last night by CATS ambulance. He died during the course of treatment. We have initiated proceedings under CrPC sections.”
On Wednesday, Rana’s family came to receive his body and later returned to their village. Takdir (75), his father, said, “We didn’t know he would take this step. He was the only person in our family to come here and protest. We are small farmers and don’t have land. We help other farmers grow wheat and rice. Jai told me he would come back once the protest ended, but he left us. I want the government to repeal these laws. We don’t want to lose our sons because of this protest.”
Members of the Bhartiya Kisan Union demanded compensation for the family and a job for Rana’s children or relatives. At Tikri border, leaders made announcements about Rana’s death and requested farmers not to lose hope and to keep protesting.
Sukhvinder (50), a farmer from Punjab, who has been protesting at the border for a month, said, “We feel low when such incidents take place. My brother, Jai Singh, died of a heart attack last month. We feel sad because the government isn’t doing anything and is delaying the process — everyone here is suffering because of the weather or their old age. I hope the laws are repealed soon.”
The protesters are planning a tractor march on Republic Day where they intend to pay tribute to farmers who died in the last two months.
At Rana’s village of Pakasma in Rohtak, a large number of farmers and farm leaders attended his funeral. A farm leader, Vikas Sisar, told The Indian Express that Rana used to supply fruits and milk to protesters at Tikri. “It’s unfortunate that the government is not uttering even a single word regarding farmers who have lost their lives during the ongoing agitation,” said Sisar.
Farmer leaders have given financial help of Rs 51,000 to Rana’s family. “The family with four brothers had a land holding of just two acres,” said Sisar.
With inputs from Sukhbir Siwach
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