When Sheshrao Shejul, a debt-ridden farmer in Maharashtra’s Jalna district, invited people in the village to conduct his last rites, most dismissed it as a joke. However, his neighbours and family members realised the seriousness of his intent when the 40-year-old hanged himself the next day.
“Sheshrao told me and several others that he would be leaving us and invited all villagers for last rites, but nobody took him seriously. The next morning, we found his body hanging from a neem tree,” a villager said.
Sheshrao owned two acres of land and his soyabean crop had failed due to drought in the Marathwada region. He had also taken a `80,000 loan and was worried about his daughter’s marriage.
The Jalna police admitted that Sheshrao’s family members had told that he was distressed because of his inability to pay back the loan. However, they have registered a case of accidental death.
The suicide prompted the Shiv Sena, the BJP’s ruling ally in the state, to take a dig. “Did Sheshrao’s invitation reach the Mantralaya? If such incidents continue in the state... should the suicide of Sheshrao and suicides by thousands of farmers like him be called a product of Make in Maharashtra?” an editorial in Sena mouthpiece Saamana said.
(With inputs from PTI)