A debt-laden farmer from Sri Ganganagar in Rajasthan consumed poison to commit suicide Sunday, and left behind a video in which he alleged that the Congress state government’s farm loan waiver scheme had not benefited farmers.
In the video uploaded to social media, Sohan Lal Kadela, in his mid-40s, is heard saying that Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s government gave compensation to farmers but that it has not benefited farmers till date and that banks trouble farmers too. He also declares in the video that he is going to commit suicide and no one is to be blamed, but that this is a warning to the Gehlot government. Before bidding goodbye to fellow farmers, he says farmers should benefit and asks villagers to take care of his family.
Sri Ganganagar SP Hemant Sharma said that Kadela owed about Rs 2.5 lakh to banks and that the police is investigating “all aspects” of the case to ascertain the causes leading to his suicide. “Prima facie, it seems he had a mixed source of income and was not entirely dependent on farming. The SHO is conducting the investigation under the supervision of senior officers,” he said.
Talking to journalists Tuesday, Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot said, “The matter is under investigation. Whenever and wherever a person dies or commits suicide, it’s absolutely unacceptable to us.I have been told that the person was not actually in debt, in terms of loans, but whatever may be the matter, someone has died, it is a very sad incident and the government of Rajasthan is fully committed to securing a better future for farmers in our state.”
Kadela was from Thakri village under the border district’s Raisinghnagar block. Kishan Singh, SHO of Raisinghnagar Police station, claimed Kadela was primarily a shopkeeper who ran a grocery store. “Kadela drank poison Sunday afternoon and died soon after. He ran a grocery store and also owned a few bighas of land, most of which is barren. We are investigating the case under Section 174 of the CrPC,” he said. Kadela has a daughter in BA first year and a son studying in Class XI.
According to police, a purported suicide note was also provided to them by one of Kadela’s neighbours, though police are still verifying its authenticity. In the note, Kadela purportedly says that “Gehlot, Sachin Pilot are responsible for this death.do not pick up my dead body until the debts of all brothers are cleared. File a case against Ashok Gehlot for my death. This is my request.”
SHO Singh said that the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) is investigating the authenticity of the two-page handwritten note. On Monday, local BJP MP Nihal Chand Meghwal met Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and apprised him of Kadela’s suicide. According to Meghwal, Kadela owned six bighas of land and had owed “lakhs to banks via two bank accounts”.
Referring to Kadela’s suicide, former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje also attacked the Congress Monday saying that it had failed to deliver on its promises and that the farmer’s suicide is “utterly condemnable”.