Karnataka Agriculture Minister BC Patil has once again stoked controversy and said that farmers who kill themselves by suicide do so as their minds are weak and the government cannot be blamed for such deaths.

Nolan Pinto BengaluruJanuary 20, 2021UPDATED: January 20, 2021 10:24 IST

BC Patil on farmers

Karnataka minister BC Patil has said farmers who kill themselves are weak.

Karnataka Agriculture Minister BC Patil has once again stoked controversy and said that farmers who kill themselves by suicide do so as their minds are weak and the government cannot be blamed for such deaths.

Addressing the press in Mysuru, BC Patil said that farmers decide to die by suicide, at times, when their mind becomes weak.

“The policies of the government are not the cause for their extreme decisions. Not only farmers, but even industrialists die by suicide. All suicides cannot be described as farmers’ suicide,” said Patil.

Earlier on December 3 in Kodagu district, Patil had said farmers who end their lives without thinking about the future of their dependents are cowards.

“Farmers who die suicide are cowards. Only a coward who can’t take care of his wife and children commits suicide. When we have fallen in the water, we have to swim and win,” BC Patil had said.

According to data from the National Crime Records Bureau, Karnataka witnessed a high number of farmer suicides in 2019, second only to Maharashtra. A total of 1,992 farmers died by suicide in Karnataka in 2019, down from 2,405 in 2018.

Farmers’ leaders have argued in the past that unless governments across the country take agrarian distress seriously and act to curb it, farmers’ crisis and suicides will continue.

Unlike what Patil would like us to believe, the causes of farmer suicide have been documented. Though the NCRB did away with the column detailing causes in 2016 (the report was released in 2019), previous years’ data can shed a light on the issue.

According to data from the National Crime Records Bureau, Karnataka witnessed a high number of farmer suicides in 2019, second only to Maharashtra. A total of 1,992 farmers died by suicide in Karnataka in 2019, down from 2,405 in 2018.

Farmers’ leaders have argued in the past that unless governments across the country take agrarian distress seriously and act to curb it, farmers’ crisis and suicides will continue.

Unlike what Patil would like us to believe, the causes of farmer suicide have been documented. Though the NCRB did away with the column detailing causes in 2016 (the report was released in 2019), previous years’ data can shed a light on the issue.https://94e8087354c925cf2c181da942758de8.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

In 2015, the NCRB report says, “‘Bankruptcy or Indebtedness’ and ‘Farming Related Issues’ are reported as major causes of suicides among farmers/cultivators, accounting for 38.7% (3,097 out of 8,007 suicides) and 19.5% (1,562 out of 8,007 suicides) of total such suicides respectively during 2015. The other prominent causes of farmer/cultivators suicides were ‘Family Problems’ (933 suicides), ‘Illness’ (842 suicides) and ‘Drug Abuse/Alcoholic Addiction’ (330 suicides), accounting for 11.7%, 10.5% and 4.1% of total farmers/cultivators` suicides respectively.”

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