UP: Harassed by Money Lender, Farmer Dies by ‘Suicide’, Family Alleges Murder
Lucknow: A farmer allegedly died by suicide at Bajhera Bajheri village under Nigohi police station area in Shahjahanpur district after a money lender allegedly threatened to take away his land as he failed to repay the loan he had taken him. The local police have registered a case against the money lender. This is ninth case of alleged suicide by a farmer since January, 23 in the state.
According to the police, some locals spotted a body hanging from a neem tree on Wednesday morning and informed the police control room.
The deceased, identified as Anil Kumar Pathak (56), a marginal farmer, was found hanging from a tree near his farm at around 8 p.m. He is survived by his wife, and five children.
“The victim was identified as Anil Kumar Pathak. Though no suicide note was recovered from the spot, villagers claimed he had huge debts. The crop yield this year was not good, thus he was unable to repay his loan he had taken from a money lender of the village. In lieu of this, they wanted to name three bighas of land in his name,” Amit Chaurasia, Circle Officer (CO) City, told NewsClick.
However, the deceased family has accused the money lender of killing him and hanging him from the tree.
Initially, Pathak’s family members said that without suitable compensation they would not take the body, but the police intervened and assured them that their demands would be met.
Seema Devi, the wife of the deceased farmer, in a complaint to the district superintendent of police, demanded action against the money lender, accusing him of “killing her husband and hanging him from a tree near his farmland.”
According to the deceased family members, the money lender was demanding Rs 6 lakh in lieu of the loan given of Rs 50,000.
Pappu Pathak, the deceased’s younger brother, said in 2014, Anil had taken a loan of Rs 50,000 from the village moneylender. After some time, the usurer sowed sugarcane crops on Anil’s 22 bighas. Citing the marriage of his daughter, the usurer did not even give a part of the crop to Anil.
The next time Anil tried to take over his land, the money lender asked him to give Rs 6,00000 in lieu of returning land. Pappu alleged that he had also applied online to get his three bighas of land in his name.
"My brother owned about 22 bighas of farmland. Due to financial crunch, he had obtained a loan of Rs 50,000 from a moneylender for harvesting in 2014. Due to crop failure and poor harvest, and his produce selling for very low prices every year, he was not able to repay the amount in nine years," said Pappu.
The National Crime Record Bureau had said that bankruptcy or indebtedness and family problems were major causes of suicides among male farmers.
However, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath claimed recently that no farmer has tried to commit suicide in the past six years.
"We all know what the condition of sugarcane farmers was earlier. Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office in 2014, the farmer has for the first time been included in any government's agenda and has begun to benefit from the government's programmes. Every farmer who was previously dependent on moneylenders is now able to benefit from the Soil Health Card, Kisan Bima Yojana, Agricultural Irrigation Scheme, and Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi,” the CM said.
Prem Singh, an agriculture expert based in Banda, told NewsClick, "The priority of media is no longer a farmer these days, rather it has shifted toward Hindu-Muslim. There is neither discussion on farmer suicides nor its root cause. These suicides will not stop until the root cause is discussed. The so-called policies of government will not be discussed as the word ‘farmer’ is not defined in the Constitution itself. All political parties have defined the word ‘farmer’ according to their own perspectives. This is the reason farmers are committing suicides every day."
Singh said, "85%of the rural populace was farmers in this country till the last four decades. Today, only 35% are left. Where did the 50% go? Is this progress? The government will never tell us that those farmers have now become labourers. Why? It is only because of the failure of the government and its policies that they became labourers.”
Ramesh Pal, a Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader in Shahjahanpur, told NewsClick, "The situation of farmers in terai region is very grim. Due to unfavourable weather, farming has become loss-making business. The majority of farmers are turning into other businesses/ labourers. Those who take loans from banks or private money lenders are not able repay it due to continuous loss in farming. They are committing suicides because of no help from the government and threat by bank and money lenders."
In a similar case last year in June, a 43-year-old debt-ridden farmer committed suicide in Bijnor district after being allegedly humiliated by the loan recovery team of the village cooperative society.
He took the extreme step after he was insulted by the recovery team in front of his relatives at his house while he was busy preparing for his niece’s wedding ceremony.
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