Treat farmer suicides as murders, demands Vidarbha outfit

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

NAGPUR - Treat suicides of Vidarbha cotton farmers as murder cases, farmers and farm widows demanded Wednesday as they took out a 5,000-strong rally in Pandharkawada town of Yavatmal district of eastern Maharashtra to protest their exclusion from the recent Rs.1,600-crore aid packages.

“Cotton farmers have submitted the memorandum to the local talsildar and have demanded that all cases of cotton farmer suicides in Vidarbha reported by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) be considered as culpable homicides,” said Kishor Tiwari, president of the Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJAS) that works for the rights of farmers and farm widows.

“Political leaders who are protecting unregulated money lenders should be booked under Indian Penal Code and a special fast-track court should decide these cases in order to control the atrocities to debt-trapped farmers who are forced into suicide,” he added.

Quoting a recent NCRB report, Tiwari said that Maharashtra is the worst as far as farm suicides are concerned with 2,872 suicides in 2009.

“Another shocking fact is that more than 70 percent finance for cotton crop cultivation is given by private micro finance institutes. As against the total Rs.9,600 crore cost of cultivation, state owned banks have given only Rs.1,460 crore,” Tiwari pointed out.

He warned that farmers will be forced to undertake extreme measures of protests if their demands are not looked into.

“Debt-trapped Vidarbha farmers will start indefinite road blockade from Jan 30, followed by indefinite fast,” he said.

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