Farmer Protesting Against Controversial Farm Laws Found Hanging From Tree, Police Probe Underway
13:49 GMT 10.11.2021 (Updated: 10:40 GMT 19.07.2022)
Since 26 November 2021, thousands of farmers have been demonstrating at the borders of India’s capital Delhi against three controversial farm laws passed by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government. They have been demanding that the laws be scrapped as they fear they will end the Minimum Support of Price (MSP) system and cause other problems.
A farmer, who was protesting against the introduction of three agricultural laws near Delhi's Singhu border point, was found hanging from a tree on Wednesday morning.
The deceased has been identified as 45-year-old Gurpreet Singh, a resident of the town Fatehgarh Sahib in the state of Punjab and a member of farmers' organisation, Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) Ekta Sidhupur.
Though the police have not yet revealed why he died, they suspect that Gurpreet committed suicide.
The police have sent the body for a post-mortem and have been taking statements from people.
Gurjinder Singh, BKU Ekta Sidhupur's convener for the Fathehgarh Sahib district, told the Indian Express
that he first learnt about the tragedy at around 6am on Wednesday and rushed the victim to hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.
Singh said that Gurpreet was depressed about the fact that the impasse over repealing the farm laws had lasted for more than a year.
“[Gurpreet] had returned to the Singhu border site after visiting his village on Monday. In his conversation with farmers over the past two days, he had mentioned that he was upset about the impasse over repealing the farm laws and that, despite farmers protesting for more than a year, the government had not been listening to the demands of farmers,” Gurjinder Singh said.
Last month, the brutal killing of a dalit (so-called untouchable) farm labourer, Lakhbir Singh, who was found at the same site with his hand chopped off and wounded in several places, sparked uproar in the country. He had allegedly desecrated the Sikh holy book Guru Granth Sahib, though his family denied the claim.
Farmer's Agitation Against Three Farm laws
Thousands of farmers have been protesting at three border points on the outskirts of Delhi – Tikri, Singhu, and Ghazipur – since 26 November last year.
They argue that the new laws will end the minimum support price – a government-set guaranteed price for farmers' produce. They also fear that this new farm law will leave them at the mercy of big corporations.
However, according to the Narendra Modi government, these laws were introduced to enable farmers to sell their products to any seller across the country and deal with private companies directly, instead of operating through government-regulated wholesale markets.
The farmers are demanding that the laws be scrapped.
Several rounds of talks have been held between the farmers’ unions and the government, but none of them have reached any meaningful conclusion.