Written by Rohit Bhan | NDTV Updated: May 29, 2013 1
Ahmedabad: Last year when marginal farmer Anirudh Jadeja of Khijdad village in Gujarat’s Saurashtra had committed suicide, a hasty local police termed it as an accidental death due to a domestic strife.
The family had contested the claims and even decided to fight a long, legal battle despite monetary restrictions.
On Monday, a local court in Jamnagar ruled in their favour terming it as a farm suicide – relief for a family which had presented a plethora of documents including a letter addressed by Anirudh to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, revealing his debt worries due to failed monsoon.
In his letter, Anirudh had even mentioned about the failed crop and a fear of bank officials knocking at his door to recover Rs. 11,000 he had taken as loan.
“There was pressure from the bank as his crop had failed due to almost negligible rains. He had a big family and was under extreme pressure… he had no option but to commit suicide, something the police refused to accept,” said his uncle Laljibhai Jadeja. In Suarashtra, it is the same story again this year.
Sheetal Bhaliya, a farmer in Amreli, is hoping this year the rains are adequate or else disaster looms large. The last six months have been a terrible struggle for farmers like him to make both ends meet.
“The crop spread in five bighas of land had got destroyed last year. I have a family of 10 to take care of. It is a struggle taking care of the family members,” said Sheetal Bhaliya.
The government seems unfazed. Last year due to failed monsoons, 62 farmers committed suicide in Gujarat. Activists claim that the number is much more as police refuse to record them as farm suicides.
Even when they are acknowledged as farm suicides, compensation is not paid to families. Right to Information (RTI) activists have been writing letters to the government, but with no results. It’s a sad state of affairs.
“Till September last year, 42 such deaths were reported and in the entire 2012, 62 farmers committed suicide. But compensation hasn’t been given even to one farmer,” said RTI activist Bharatsinh Jhala.
With government not listening to their woes, farmers are looking towards the rain gods for a little help this year.
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