Indian Agrarian Crisis now moved to

Farmer-the most endangered species

Farmer sets himself ablaze in Mulayam’s prescence

Posted by Ramoo on February 19, 2007…

Akhilesh Kumar Singh
[ 19 Feb, 2007 0237hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]
KANPUR: Striving hard to survive the prevailing political turmoil in Uttar Pradesh, chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav faced yet another setback on Sunday.
Enraged over the district administration’s callous approach, a farmer set himself ablaze in front of the CM while he was addressing a rally at Mahoba.
The condition of the 35-year-old farmer identified as Maniram was critical with above 50% burn injuries.
The incident took place around the time when the CM strongly refuted reports of suicides and hunger deaths of farmers due to consecutive droughts in the region.
“Not a single farmer has committed suicide in UP during my regime and those making such claims are opposition-sponsored agents trying to tarnish the government image,”claimed Yadav at a rally in Mahoba.
“The farmers suicides are taking place only in Congress-ruled states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh. But the UPA government is concerned more about UP farmers to defame my government,”he added.
The police immediately shifted Maniram to the Jhansi Medical College, where his condition remains serious. A resident of Murori village of Mahoba district, Maniram had declared a fortnight ago that he would immolate himself during the CM’s rally because local officials had ignored his repeated pleas for compensating the death of his horse.
According to locals, Maniram had taken his horse to a recently organised animal fair where it died. Since animals taking part in the fair are insured, he was entitled to a compensation but officials did not pay heed to his pleas.
Maniram was leading a penurious life as he had already sold his land to pay back agricultural loans, his neighbours added.
Confirming the immolation bid, Mahoba district magistrate Sameer Verma said that Maniram was mentally unstable (sirfira) and his act was absolutely unwarranted.
“Maniram himself was responsible for the death of his horse as he used to give it liquor,”said Verma. He defended the local officials and said none of them were at fault.
Mulayam, on his way back to Lucknow from Mahoba, just dropped his party senior colleague Harmohan Singh at the police lines helipad and proceeded without speaking to mediapersons.
Hit by persistent droughts, farmers’ suicides in Bundelkhand have become a routine affair. In the last three years, more than 600 farmers have committed suicides in the four districts of Bundelkhand region but official machinery continues to deny this.

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