40-year-old farmer dies by suicide at Singhu border amid protests
A 40-year-old farmer from Punjab allegedly died by suicide at the Delhi-Haryana Singhu border, the epicenter of the ongoing farmers' protests. The deceased has reportedly been identified as Amarinder Singh, a resident of Fatehgarh Sahib. This is the second such incident this month, and only one among many since farmers starting camping at Delhi's borders in mid-November to protest against new agricultural laws.
According to NDTV, Singh consumed a poisonous substance on Saturday following which he was rushed to the FIMS Hospital in Sonipat. He died during treatment. Singh's friends told the publication that he was forced to take the step as the government had failed to address the farmers' demands. He had hoped his death would bring success to the farmers' movement, the friends said.
Reportedly, Singh's body has been sent to the mortuary at the Government Hospital, where an autopsy has been scheduled for Sunday morning. Thereafter, the body is likely to be handed to the farmers at Singhu border as the police is yet to trace his family.
Just last week, a 75-year-old farmer was found dead at another protest site near the Delhi-Ghaziabad border. The deceased was identified as Kashmir Singh Ladi from Uttar Pradesh. "Till when shall we sit here in the cold? This government is not listening at all. Hence, I give up my life so that some solution emerges," Ladi had written in a suicide note.
For months, farmers have been protesting against the three farm laws passed in September. The protests intensified in November-end as thousands of farmers from several states reached Delhi, camping at the city's borders. Farmers fear that by allowing trade outside APMC mandis, the laws will weaken the mandis and they would be deprived of Minimum Support Prices, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation by corporations.
The government has held eight rounds of talks with representatives of over 40 farmer unions. However, the talks remain inconclusive as the government insists on holding discussions on contentious clauses of the laws, while the farmers demand a complete rollback. The government maintains the laws will be beneficial for farmers, alleging a misinformation campaign. Meanwhile, dozens of farmers have died—many by suicide—during the protests.