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Friday, April 24, 2015

a day after farmer's death at rally CM Kejriwal apologises - could it have been prevented ?!?

The political parties or its leaders are unlikely to change – it is time, party cadres learn the futility of dying for leaders.  A day after the alleged suicide of a farmer at AAP rally, political leaders are busy trading charges as more news emerge on the incident, which raises doubts on whether it indeed can be termed as a suicide or whether the death was indeed preventable !!!

Speaking to the media after meeting the family of Gajendra Singh, AAP leader Sanjay Singh said he shared the grief of the family and will put forth their requests to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. "Since he died for farmers' cause, we will talk to CM Kejriwal about granting him the status of 'Kissan Shaheed'. We will also consider giving a member of their family a government job when they are eligible," Sanjay Singh said.  Typical political response, one thought !

Devendra Singh, one of the three brothers of Gajendra, is a constable with the Rajasthan Armed Constabulary . On Thursday , he rejected the AAP offer for Rs 10 lakh compensation for his brother's death.  “I offer Rs 1 crore to AAP leaders if they return my brother alive,“ Devendra told reporters about compensation offers pouring in.  While Rajasthan native Gajendra Singh's suicide on Wednesday in Delhi has led to a political slug fest, National Crime Records Bureau figures show that the state lags far behind Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh in the number of farmers suicides recorded. Out of the total of 11,772 farmers who ended their lives in India in 2013, 292 were from Rajasthan, putting the state at tenth place when it comes to farmer suicides.

TOI reports that Gajendra was not the typical distressed farmer of say , UP's Bundelkhand or Maharashtra's Vidarbha, regions notorious for farmer suicides. Gajendra was one of sixty-five-year old Bane Singh's eight children. Bane owns 17 bigha of land at his native Nangal Jhamarwada village near Bandikui in Rajasthan's Dausa district. His five daughters and three sons are married. Gajendra had a share of 4.3 bigha of these 17 bighas, had built a house in a portion of the farmland, away from his ancestral house, where his wife and children live. Gajendra is survived by wife and three children -a daughter (Class XII) and two sons, studying in Class I and IV .


Could he have been brought down and saved ? – photo credit : BBC

A man with political ambitions, Gajendra frequented political rallies, mostly those that raised farmers' problems. He had earlier taken part Congress and BJP meetings but was disappointed with both parties and was exploring the AAP option.Probably this brought him to Jantar Mantar and he wanted to attract AAP leaders' attention. Gajendra was regular at the Jaisalmer desert festival and was a major draw among tourists, thanks to his turban-tying skill.   Family members say this year was the first time Gajendra had done farming on his own and done some plantation work. “He was upset at the district officials' response to his crop damage as no compensation was offered to him,“ a relative said.

BBC reports that the Chief minister of Indian capital, Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, has apologised for continuing his speech after a farmer hanged himself at his rally. "I think I was wrong, I should not have gone ahead with my speech and called off the rally. I apologise if I hurt anyone," he told news agency ANI.

On Thursday, activists from the opposition Congress party and the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) protested outside Mr Kejriwal's house. They accused Mr Kejriwal of insensitivity in having continued his rally after the farmer hanged himself, as well as responsibility for the death itself. Mr Kejriwal has blamed government policies which he says led to the farmer's death. The police have also been accused of failing to prevent the death, while some have questioned whether the farmer had intended to kill himself. In the interview on Friday morning, the chief minister for the first time admitted that it was a bad idea to go ahead with the rally, but said he could not see the tree from which the farmer hanged himself because it was at a distance from the stage.

There have been suicides - Gajendra Singh's death is the most high-profile incident of its kind, taking place as it did before thousands of people at a rally in the capital. In another development, Gajendra Singh's family claims that the purported suicide note found at Jantar Mantar wasn't written by him. It might have been slipped into the rally venue by someone to muddy waters.“It was not his handwriting,“ Gopal Singh, the deceased's uncle, insisted. “What's written is hard to read.“ “The note is full of lies.We're farmers but not completely dependent on farming. It's also false that Gajendra's father had thrown him out.“ He seldom carried a pen with him. Where did he get one, Gajendra's younger brother, Bijendra asked.  “Why did no one try to stop him from climbing the tree? Why did no leader of AAP try to dissuade him? There are lots of questions that remain to be answered. We hold police and the AAP leadership responsible. If any of them had acted swiftly , he could have been saved,“ Gajendra's uncle Gopal Singh said.

Sadly another life lost, an inopportune moment – seemingly preventable – but everyone is indulged in shifting the blame ..... the lesson to be learnt is for the ‘party cadres’- why should one sacrifice for their leaders ?  has there been any instance where leaders have sacrificed for the party. SAD.

With grief – S. Sampathkumar

24th  Apr 2015.

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