A day after 60-year-old Balbir Singh took his own life by consuming sulphas tablets in the Mansa DC complex, his family was given compensation worth Rs 6 lakh, a government job for his son in the local bodies department. The farmer’s debts were also waived.
According to his suicide note, he was upset because Cabinet Minister Gurpreet Kangar — who recently tested positive for the novel coronavirus — had visited his village Kotra. The note said: “Kangar and DC Mansa are responsible for my death. I am committing suicide after being fed up of the dramebazi of Captain sarkar. When Kangar knew that he was unwell, why did he come to Mansa and later to Kotra village? Kangar and DC should get maximum punishment.”
Balbir had died in Faridkot Medical College and his body was initially kept in the mortuary of Mansa civil hospital.
Bharti Kisan Union (Mansa) had on Monday said they will not cremate the body unless their demands for the family are met.
On Tuesday morning, union members sat on a dharna in the DC complex and repeated rounds of talks took place with Deputy Commissioner Mansa Mohinder Pal (over phone as he is in home isolation) while the district panchayat development officer and few others were talking to them in person.
Begh Singh, president of the union said, “Authorities agreed to give Rs 6 lakh, a job to the farmer’s son and waive his debts. Late in the evening, the farmer was cremated in his village.”
Sources said Balbir had a debt of Rs 2.5 lakh, which was taken from SBI, and had 3.5 acres of land holding. A few farmers of Kotra village had recently been booked under the Mining Act allegedly while they were digging up the ground in their own fields.
It has been learnt that Balbir used to go along with them to meet the SDM or other officials in Mansa a number of times. However, he was never heard and hence was upset.
“On Monday, he had left the suicide note at his house and had gone to DC office. Hence, it appears as if he had an intention to die by suicide and was upset with the system,” said Gurlabh Singh Mahal, member of Savidhan Bachao Manch.
Meanwhile, Harinder Singh Manshahia, a member of the All India Socialist Party, has submitted a complaint with Mansa SSP’s office demanding an FIR against thr DC and Kangar.
He said, “That the administration has given compensation, job and waived loan is proof that they have admitted that they were at fault. So they need to be booked. As suicide is a serious issue and it can’t be ignored.”
Dr Gian Singh, a former professor at Punjabi University, who had conducted a study on farmer suicides, said, “Debt, poverty are the most common reason for suicides. Farmer is humiliated for not repaying loans. Politicians often make tall promises and don’t fulfill them or flout rules. This causes frustration among voters. Hence, suicide is not associated with a single cause, there are multiple causes, but political pollution seems to have overpowered as per what I have read about the farmer.”
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