WITH THE farmers’ agitation against the Centre’s new agriculture laws in its third month with no sign of a solution, a 52-year-old farmer from Haryana’s Jind, who was among protesters at the Tikri border to Delhi, was found dead near his tent early Sunday morning. Police said they suspect it to be a case of suicide.
According to police, Karambeer Singh was found hanging from a tree in a park, a few metres from the tent that he shared along with eight others from his district. Police have recovered a purported handwritten suicide note in which Karambeer criticised the Government for the delay in addressing the farmers’ demands.
“There are no indications of foul play in the investigation so far,” said Inspector Sunil Kumar, Station House Officer (SHO) of the Bahadurgarh City police station.
The purported suicide note begins with “Bharatiya Kisan Union Zindabad”. It goes on to say: “Dear farmer brothers, this Modi government is keeping on giving date after date. It cannot be guessed when these black laws will be cancelled. We will not go from here until these black laws are cancelled.”
This is not the first incident of suicide among protesters at the Tikri border who have been camping in the area for over two months now.
Last month, a 42-year-old farmer from Rohtak died while undergoing treatment after consuming sulphas tablets. In December, a lawyer from Punjab’s Jalalabad consumed poison and died while undergoing treatment.
On Sunday, inside the tent that Karambeer had set up, his companions expressed shock. “He had been tense for the last two-three days. He often spoke about how the Centre is not doing anything about the laws. Since he was the oldest among us, he was our guide and leader,” said Virender Singh (38).
“We last saw Karambeer at around 11 pm, when we played cards in a group. After that, he went to the washroom, came back and slept. When we woke up, we heard that there was a dead body outside. It was still dark, and we turned on the torch in our phones to see the face and found that it was him.”
Rajesh (27), who was among those who reached the border on December 3 along with Karambeer, said: “We made tea at around 5 am and were searching for him.”
According to his companions, Karambeer was the father of three girls, of whom one is married, and hailed from Singhwaal village in Jind. He has seven brothers.
The protesters said police reached the spot at around 7 am and took the body down. Officials said a post-mortem was conducted in Bahadurgarh.
“He was our leader. He helped make the tent and organised the necessities. He always used to say that we would not move until the laws are repealed. Now, we will certainly not move from here,” said Ashok Banwala (26), who was among the protesters.
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