NEW DELHI: Less than 24 hours after participating in the massive rally, a farmer from Maharashtra accidentally fell from a building at Ambedkar Bhawan on Saturday and died, the police said.
A call was received at 3.15 a.m. from a security guard who saw the victim lying in a pool of blood, a police officer said.
Hailing from Kolhapur district, 52-year-old Karan Santapa had arrived in Delhi on Thursday night with about 5,000 farmers, out of which about 600 of them were staying overnight at Ambedkar Bhawan.
“We learnt that he was sleeping in the corridor on the third floor of Ambedkar Bhawan. Later, we rushed him to the Lady Hardinge Hospital, where doctors declared him brought dead,” the police officer said, adding that the enquiry ruled out foul play.
“We have recorded statements of some people. The body will be taken to the victim’s village, after compliance of legal formalities.”
Though word spread earlier in the day that the farmer was under the influence of alcohol, the police office said this could only be confirmed after the viscera report comes in a month.
Other farmers ruled out any foul play in the episode. “We were huge in number and there weren’t enough rooms so we were sleeping in different verandahs. We didn’t know the victim all that well. He had come with two of his fellow villagers to participate in the protest,” 56-year-old Raosab Latte told this newspaper.
“We are sure that it (the death) was an accident. He didn’t commit suicide. Nobody pushed him…nothing.”
Latte and other farmers expressed grief that they lost a comrade far away from home in the National Capital.
“We had come here to launch our protest against the struggles of each and every farmer across the country. We made the best of our efforts but our fight has turned sour with such a tragedy taking place,” he said.
The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, which claims to be an umbrella body of 207 organisations of farmers and agricultural workers, had gave a clarion call to the farmers for the two-day rally in Delhi.
Swabhimani Shetkari Saghtana founder and MP Raju Shetti emphasised that the 5,000 farmers from Maharashtra wanted to peacefully launch their protest.“The farmers had come in a large number to demand justice from the central government but unfortunately one of them lost his life in the midst of it. The incident has really saddened me.” “The agenda was to simply and peacefully register the protest. I am very sure he fell accidentally and didn’t come to the capital to eventually commit suicide,” he said.