Fallow Market: Why protesting farmers are taking their own lives – By Varinder Maddoke
Citing the martyrdom of the socialist revolutionary Bhagat Singh, the suicide note of Rajveer Singh, a 50-year-old farmer from Haryana’s Sisai village, read, “I would request the government to fulfil my last wish which would be to repeal the farm bills and send these innocent people happily back home.”…
The protests have remained active and growing despite police violence, incessant media criticism and several inconclusive rounds of talks with the government. Upwards of 500 farmers have reportedly died, most of natural causes, during the protests. Alongside them, several farmers have also died by suicide, a few of whom specifically noted that it was as a mark of protest against the farm laws and the government’s authoritarian treatment of Indian farmers….
Farmers’ suicides have not been rare in Punjab and Haryana. The Punjab governments’ own data shows that between 2000 and 2019, 3,300 farmers died by suicide in the state because of farm debt alone…. The spectre of farmers’ suicides in the two states has become a constant symbol in both the Singhu and Tikri border protest sites. A common slogan I heard at the protests over the past seven months at the sites was “Khud kushiyan ra shadke, loko pe jao ra sangarshya de”—Leave the road of suicides and fight for your rights….