Farmers’ protests: Fazilka lawyer dies after drinking 'poison' at Tikri border

At least three such incidents have been reported in the last two weeks

Tribune News Service
Jhajjar, December 27

A lawyer from Fazilka died after allegedly consuming some poisonous substance at the Tikri border, a site of the ongoing farmers’ protests, sources said on Sunday---at least the third such incident to be reported in the last two weeks.

Sources said the victim, Amarjit Singh from Jalalabad, was immediately taken to Rohtak’s Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, where he died.

A purported suicide note found in his pocket was addressed to  "Modi, The Dictator". The note said he was offering himself as "sacrifice" in support of the protests. The typewritten letter is dated December 18 and reportedly bears the advocate’s signature.

“The General Public of India has given you absolute majority, power and faith for saving and prospering their life,” the letter read. “But with great sorrow and pains, I have to write that you have become the Prime Minister of special groups like Ambani and Adani etc. The common people like farmers and labourers are feeling defrauded by your three agriculture black bills and the worst life is inevitable. The public is on tracks (sic) and roads not for votes but for the livelihood of their families and generations. In order to feed some capitalists you have destroyed the common people and agriculture which is the backbone of India.”

“Kindly do not snatch the bread and butter (Roti) of farmers, labourers and common people for a few capitalists and do not compel them to eat sulphos (read: celphos, a fumigant). Socially you have betrayed the public and politically you have betrayed your associate parties like SAD."

"Listen, the voice of the people is the voice of God," the letter said. "It is said that you wish for sacrifices like Godhra and I also offer my sacrifice in sport (support) of this wordwide agigation for the shaking of your deaf and dumb conscious (conscience)," the letter said.  

Jaspreet Singh, a protesting farmer from Jalalabad, said Amarjit Singh had been staying at a camp in his neighbourhood near Pakoda Chowk in Bahadurgarh for a fortnight before he allegedly took the extreme step. 

“In the morning, a farmer informed me over the phone that Amarjit had consumed some poisonous substance. We rushed him to Civil Hospital in Bahadurgarh from where Amarjit was referred to PGIMS Rohtak following his critical condition where he succumbed,” said Singh.

Jhajjar’s Civil Surgeon Dr Sanjay Dahiya said Amarjeet Singh was brought to the civil hospital in Bahadurgarh in the morning, and was then taken to PGMIS in critical condition.

At least two other such incidents reported in the past two weeks.

A 65-year-old farmer tried to kill himself at the Singhu border---another prominent site of the ongoing protests---on December 21. A prominent head priest of a gurdwara in Karnal shot himself dead at the protests last week. His suicide note attributed his action to the ongoing farmer protests. The letter said he could not bear to see the plight of protesting farmers.

A 22-year-old farmer who was part of the protests killed himself in Bathinda’s Dayalpura Mirza village a few days after the incident. In this case, the reason for the act remains unknown.

Farmers mainly Punjab and Haryana have been protesting three controversial farm laws Parliament passed in September. Farmers primarily fear that the laws would render the APMC, or the mandi system, weakened and would leave them open to exploitation. Another objection is the clause that allows contract farming, which they say could lead to losing their lands to big corporations. Centre disputes both claims. 

Farmers laid siege to Delhi in November---they blocked national highways leading into Delhi and have since refused to budge. Their numbers have continued to swell since, as farmers from across the country began joining the protests. Talks with the central government have so far yielded no results, with both parties sticking to their guns---farmers want a complete repeal of the laws and another legislation to promise a minimum support price, while the central government has offered several “concessions” short of rescinding the laws.

Farmers' unions meanwhile claim that the central government has been trying to malign the movement by calling them variously as "Khalistanis" and "urban naxals". The central government meanwhile accuses opposition and what they claim are vested political interests of misleading protesters.  

A letter addressed to the Prime Minister by Amarjit Singh, the lawyer who killed himself at the Singhu border on Sunday. Photo source: Punjabi Tribune





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