Tension prevailed in Karmala taluka of Solapur district on Thursday after a suicide note left behind by a 42-yearold farmer mentioned his body should not be cremated till CM Devendra Fadnavis visited his village.The farmer, Dhanaji Jadhav, had hanged himself from a tree in Veet village. Villagers observed a bandh, insisting on Fadnavis’ presence before the cremation could take place.

District officials and Solapur guardian minister Vijaykumar Deshmukh had to rush to Veet to pacify the agitated villagers. Deshmukh called up Fadnavis and got him to speak to Jadhav’s family .The CM assured financial assistance to Jadhav’s family , following which the body was cremated.

The villagers said Jadhav had taken the extreme step to attract Fadnavis’ attention to his plight and that of other farmers. This, despite the CM’s recent announcement that small farmers like Jadhav would be given a loan waiver by October 31. Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana leader and MP Raju Shetti said the suicide reflected the trust deficit that the BJP government was facing. “Farmers are not going to believe in announcements.We want a complete loan waiver without any delay ,“ he said.

Jadhav, who is survived by his parents, wife and two sons, had taken loans of up to Rs 1lakh from a bank, a co-operative credit society and a private moneylender in 2017 for cultivation on his two acre land. In his suicide note, he requested relatives and friends to take care of his family members.

“Jadhav’s suicide notes says everything. It is unfortunate that farmers have to kill themselves to attract the government’s attention. We have no option but to intensify our agitation,“ said Shetkari Sanghatana leader Raghunath Patil.

Another debt-ridden farmer, Hanumant Shinde (48), was found dead in a farm at Bhondwewadi near Baramati on Thursday morning. Shinde, who was allegedly under stress, is suspected to have consumed poison or pesticide. Police said the farmer’s economic condition was delicate and the family stayed in a small shack. Police said Hanumant’s family members claimed he was worried about his daughter’s marriage. To add to the stress, one of his bulls died of snakebite while the sowing period was drawing near.

Besides Jadhav and Shinde, seven other farmers from across the state have reportedly committed suicide since the farmers’ strike began on June 1. The suicides were reported from Baramati, Satara, Wardha and Nanded.

(With inputs from Gitesh Shelke)

Congress protests Rahul arrest, rail roko at Ghatkopar

State Congress chief Ashok Chavan and leader of opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil on Thursday condemned the arrest of Rahul Gandhi by MP police. “The government’s decision to arrest him is anti-democratic,“ Chavan said. Youth Congress activists staged a rail roko at Ghatkopar station in support of the farmers’ protest in Mandsaur, MP. 13 party workers were arrested by Railway Protection Force (RPF). They had detained a local train for four minutes, officials said. TNNhttp://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/index.aspx?eid=31804&dt=20170609#