The Madhya Pradesh Congress on Monday accused the Bhind district collector of mocking the death of a farmer, alleging that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led state government was insensitive towards the plight of farmers.
The Congress is up in arms against the BJP government over farmer suicides and delayed compensation after the last month’s rain and hailstorms damaged crops in the state. Seventeen farmers have died after the hailstorms, the Congress claimed.
The Bhind farmer, Abhilakh Yadav, committed suicide recently allegedly due to crop loss.
Addressing a press conference, state Congress vice-president and MLA Dr Govind Singh said the collector, Madhukar Agneya, had used objectionable and abusive language about the farmer and his family.
"The collector said the farmer had six children and when so many kids are produced, what else would happen to him? He also said such a person is bound to die in a very insulting tone," the Congress leader alleged.
Singh released an audio clip, allegedly that of the collector’s conversation with a person to support his charge.
The audio has the sentence, 'paanch chhori, ek chhora paalne mein praan to niklenge hi...itne bachche paida kiye hain....". The conversation took place when a journalist apparently called the collector on his phone to ask about the farmer’s suicide.
However, collector Agneya denied the charge, claiming there was no question of his abusing or mocking the farmer’s death.
"Selectively releasing part of any conversation can change the meaning," the collector said.
"It is difficult to run a house if there are more family members and this is a fact. Nowhere did I use any objectionable words," he said, adding it was immoral and unlawful to record a conversation.
The Congress said the government was not conducting any survey to ascertain crop damage because the officials had orders from higher-ups that the loss shouldn't be shown at more than 15%.
The Congress said the crop insurance scheme was not working on the ground. It said just 32 lakh of the 80 lakh farmers in the state were included in the scheme.
Rain-affected farmer ends life; toll touches seven in Bhind district
A 22-year-old farmer allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself at his house in Bara Kala village under Bhind Dehat police station limits on Sunday night.
This is the seventh suicide committed by a farmer in the district due to the crop loss caused by the last month's hailstorm.
Farmer Babu Singh Kushwaha had informed the police that his dead son Neeraj Singh Kushwaha had sown wheat and mustard in four acres of land.
Babu had told them Neeraj had taken a loan of Rs 15,000 from a cooperative society for purchasing seeds and fertilisers.
As he was depressed due to his crop loss, he committed suicide on late Sunday night, city superintendent of police Virendra Singh Tomar said.