A middle-aged farmer committed suicide in his own agriculture field in Uttar Pradesh’s Bundelkhand region on Saturday.
Villagers said that Rajkaran Shukla, 52, hanged himself from a tree on his four-acre plot allegedly because labourers refused to get involved in harvesting during the lockdown.
His son Vivek said wheat was cultivated in two of the four acres on Jaari village in Banda district.
“A villager had opened his tube well on Thursday and the water had flowed to our wheat field. My father was in shock because of this reason. He wanted to harvest the wheat as soon as possible but didn’t get any labourer. He was also worried about repaying the Rs 1.50 lakh he had taken from a private moneylender for farming,” said Vivek.
“Our two-acre lentil crop was completed destroyed recently because of water logging,” he added.
Lal Bharat Kumar Pal, additional superintendent of police, told reporters that the death prima facie appeared to be a suicide. “We need to wait for the inquiry report before jumping to a conclusion.The villagers have told us that he was unwell and behaving abnormally for the past few months,” the police officer said.
A villager told reporters: “He was depressed because there was no labourer available to harvest the ripe wheat in the field. He was in fear that the standing crop would be spoiled and it will lead to a famine-like condition. The situation is really grim here as the police are harassing those who want to start harvesting. More farmers will commit suicide in Bundelkhand if the government does not take immediate action against the policemen who are blackmailing us and expecting bribe before we start gathering the ripe crop.”
Pal said the police would probe the allegation of the villagers against the local police and take action if the charges were found to be true.
Awanish Awasthi, additional chief secretary, department of home, said in Lucknow that the farmers had been allowed to start harvesting while following the norms of social distancing.