A farmer in the Indian state of Punjab allegedly committed suicide by consuming poison on Saturday night in Faridkot district.
The deceased, who has been identified as Jagsir Singh, had participated in a protest against the state government to demand the cancellation of stubble burning cases.
The protest, organised by the farmers’ union Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), has been ongoing for over a month. The agitated farmers are demanding the withdrawal of cases registered against them for stubble burning in Faridkot’s Jaitu area.
According to Singh’s fellow protestors, he consumed poison late on Saturday evening, after which he was immediately rushed to a local hospital.
“The patient was brought to the hospital at around 9:30 pm and was declared dead by 9:55 pm”, said a doctor at the hospital.
Local police said the bottle found near Jagsir’s body contained poison. The post-mortem report in the case is still awaited.
“The farmers have been protesting peacefully. The desolation among farmers is such that they are left with no other way and under such circumstances”, said Jagjeet Singh, local chief of the farmers' union BKU.
He held the government responsible for the death, saying the deceased farmer did not have any domestic issue in his life.
In preparation for the next crop post-paddy harvest, farmers are getting their fields ready by burning the residue of the previous crop. The practice leads to a meteoric rise in Delhi’s pollution levels with the particulate matter soaring into "severe" the zone.
Over 200 farmers have been booked for stubble burning in Uttar Pradesh in the last fortnight. By mid-November, about 189 farmers had been penalised for burning crop residue in the state. A total of eight First Information Reports (FIRs) were filed against farmers for the offence in Punjab state only last week.