MUMBAI/BHOPAL/NEW DELHI:The agrarian protest in Maharashtra took an emotional twist on Thursday after a farmer in Solapur committed suicide, leaving behind a note saying his body should not be cremated till Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis visited his village and agreed to meet the protestors’ demands.
Dhanaji Jadhav, 45, hanged himself from a tree near his house at Veet village in Karmala tehsil on Wednesday night, Solapur Collector Rajendra Bhosale said. “I am a farmer, Dhanaji Chandrakant Jadhav. I am committing suicide today. Please take my body to my village and do not cremate me till CM Devendra Fadnavis comes here,” read the suicide note addressed to his friends and relatives.
Jadhav is survived by his wife and two children. He owned 2.5 acres of cultivable land, but was weighed down by a debt of `60,000. The police said he had also taken loans from private lenders. After the incident, farmers’ organisations in the area held a road blockade, and called for a bandh in Karmala tehsil.
Meanwhile in Madhya Pradesh, two days after five protesting farmers were shot dead in Mandsaur district, the State administration, for the first time, admitted they were killed in police firing.
“The findings in the postmortem report and empty cartridges from the spot have established that it was the bullets fired by police that led to death of the farmers,” State Home Minister Bhupendra Singh said on Thursday.
The State government also admitted this in its report to the Union Home Ministry. According to the government’s version of events, the farmers had set fire to 25 trucks and two police vans on the Mhow-Neemuch Highway. “The police tried to control the mob by resorting to lathicharge and lobbing tear gas. However, they continued with their violent acts of arson” says the report. “Following this, the police fired at the protestors, killing five of them and injuring eight others.”
Meanwhile in Mandsaur, anti-riot paramilitary forces moved into violence-hit areas on Thursday. The State administration claimed normalcy had returned in several parts and even relaxed the curfew imposed in Pipliyamandi and Mandsaur town between 4 pm and 6 pm. However, violence erupted in Shajpur district, with a mob setting fire to two trucks and blocking the Agra-Mumbai National Highway (NH-3). So far, seven cases have been lodged and 62 people arrested in connection with the violence.
In Naya Gaon, about 70 km from ground-zero of the protest, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was detained by the police while trying to make his way into Mandsaur through the Rajasthan border. He was held inside the guest house of a cement company and released after four hours.
Open for dialogue: Chouhan
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Thursday said the State government was open for a dialogue with farmers to iron out the differences. Only talks can end the differences, he said
‘Rahul’s visit a mere photo-op’
The NDA government at the Centre hit out at the Congress for seeking to politicise the farmers’ agitation in MP and claimed party vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s bid to visit to Mandsaur was just a “photo opportunity”
Suicide over debt of Rs 60,000
Before hanging himself, 45-year-old Dhanaji Jadhav penned a note requesting his family and friends not to cremate him until Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis arrived and announced a loan waiver for farmers. Survived by his wife and two kids, the farmer owned 2.5 acres of land and had a debt of around Rs 60,000