Indian Tradesman and Family Take Poison Live on Facebook, Blame 'Modi's Policy' For Failed Business

CC0 / / Small bottle of poison
Small bottle of poison - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.02.2022
Even four years after introduction, blue-collar workers are struggling to cope with the cost-intensive Goods and Services Tax (GST) system. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that GST was an important milestone, highlighting increased transparency and lighter tax burdens.
In a heart-wrenching incident, Rajiv Tomar, a shoe seller from a town 75km from Delhi, tried to commit suicide by taking poison with his wife. The couple livestreamed their attempt on Facebook on Tuesday, saying the government's unsustainable tax regime was to blame for his struggling business.
In the two-minute video, Tomar, who is now in a critical state in a local hospital, says that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is responsible for his death as the government's policy is against both farmers and tradesmen.

"If there is any shame left in you [Modi], please amend your policies. I am not saying that everything you've done is bad but you have not been kind to small businesses and farmers," said Tomar while swallowing some poison which was in a sachet.

Tomar's wife tries to make him spit the poison out but does not succeed.
"I am not anti-national. I have faith in the country. But I want to ask Modiji to change his way of doing things …from today. I hope things will change from today. Please share this video as widely as you can," Tomar added with tears in his eyes.
Indian voters wait in a queue for their turn to vote at a polling station in the Naini area on the outskirts of Allahabad during the fourth phase of Uttar Pradesh state assembly elections on February 23, 2017 - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.02.2022
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Friends of the couple, who were watching the video on Facebook Live, rushed to Tomar's shop in Baghpat, an agricultural area that is holding assembly votes on Thursday in Uttar Pradesh state. Later, with the help of police, the neighbours got the couple admitted to a local hospital.
Tomar's wife died at the hospital although the cause of her death remains unknown.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), representing more than 70 million tradesmen throughout the country, has told the government frequently how great a financial burden the GST is to small businesses.
The organisation has blamed the government for enforcing GST rules "without consulting with tradesmen and without realising the implications".
According to an Oxfam report, the number of billionaires jumped by 39 percent to 142 in 2021. However, small and marginal businesses have been badly disrupted because of the repercussions of COVID and the GST.
Nityanand Rai, India's Minister of State for Home Affairs, said on Wednesday in parliament that, in the three years from 2018 to 2020, 16,091 people committed suicide because they were unable to cope with the level of their indebtedness.
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