BHOPAL: National convener of Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh (association of 62 farmers bodies) Shiv Kumar Sharma ‘Kakkaji’ was arrested along with seven aides on Friday afternoon while trying to block NH-12 at Bhopal’s Misrod area in Madhya Pradesh.
Sharma, who had spearheaded the recent farmers’ stir in MP, said, “Arresting us is not going to stop suicides in the state. The government will have to seriously work for it by accepting farmers’ demands, including waiver of loans.”
Kakkaji, who was later released on bail, said that they were going to register their protest on International Yoga Day on June 21 by performing Shavasana (the corpse pose).
“We will try to go where the PM is slated to participate in the Yoga Day. If we get to reach there and participate in the program, we’ll perform shavasana there. Else, we will perform it wherever we are present that day, be it on road or fields,” said Kakkaji.
One more farmer commits suicide
While the farmers press on with their demands, one more farmer committed suicide in Madhya Pradesh over the last 24 hours, while a farm labourer attempted self immolation in the state, allegedly under the burden of mounting debts.
Mukesh allegedly committed suicide by consuming poison at Lachor village in Budhni town of Sehore district. While the police said they were investigating the matter, the deceased farmer’s kin alleged that he ended life due to burden of private loans. Budhni is the hometown of CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan. In adjoining Hoshangabad district also, a farm labourer Babulal Verma attempted to immolate self in Redhal village, allegedly under pressure of private money lenders. He has been referred to Bhopal for treatment.
With this, eight farmers have committed suicide in the state over the last five days over varied reasons, including burden of loans. As per state government figures reported in April 2017, at least 1,982 farmers and farm labourers committed suicide in the state in a year between February 2016 and February 2017, which meant one farmer is committing suicide every five hours in the state. This, ironically, happened in a state that been registering 18% annual agricultural growth and has been receiving the central government’s Krishi Karmanya award for excellence in agriculture since the last five years. Also, the figures revealed that over 21,000 farmers reportedly committed suicide over varied reasons in the last 16 years.
Congress’ Satyagraha ends
The Bhopal leg of the 72-hours Satyagraha launched by Opposition Congress over farmer-related issues ended on Friday. However, the formal culmination of the Satyagraha will take place at Khaghat town of Dhar district in west MP on Saturday. Senior Congress leaders, including former Union ministers Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kamal Nath (both MPs from Madhya Pradesh), will participate in the programme on Saturday, where over 10,000 farmers and Congress workers are likely to take part.
“The Satyagraha will end there, but a peaceful protest will be staged for farmers’ rights in Sagar district on June 19, followed by protests at every block, district and Vidhan Sabha constituencies in the coming days,” Scindia told journalists on Friday.