Ten more farmers, including a woman, in Vidarbha region have taken their lives in the last 48 hours and the death toll has touched 988, since June last year.
In this area, most of the suicides have been those of cotton growers. They were determined to take the step, because of extreme debts and non-availability of loans from financial institutions.
Among the 10 victims, three each were from Buldhana and Akola while two from Amravati and one each from Wardha and Washim district.
The latest to join the spiraling list of suicide victims were: Murlidhar Shingne of Bagarkhed, Prabhakar Borkar, Chahegaon, Dashrath Ingle of Kherda (all in Buldhana), Prashant Hadole of Kanheri, Sheikh Rahim, Badegaon, Ashok Wankhede of Bordi (all in Akola), Onkar Shaniware of Takalkhed, Gajanan Nahe of Shedora (both in Amravati), Chandrabhaga Thakre of Chincholi (Wardha) and Narayan Shewale, Chandas in Washim district.
Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti, who has been documenting the deaths of farmers for the last one decade, claimed that as many as 55 farmers have taken the drastic step in October alone while the figure was 125 in September and 111 in August this year.
As many as 385 farmers have committed suicide after the visit of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to the region on June 30 and July 1 this year.
Though Dr Singh announced a financial package of over Rs 3850-crore apart from the Maharashtra government's Rs 1500-crore to bail out the crisis-ridden farmers from the six most affected districts of Vidarbha—Yavatmal, Wardha, Amravati, Akola, Washim and Buldhana—suicides by farmers have continued unabated.
Meanwhile, activists of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti have launched an agitation infront of all nationalised banks in Yavatmal district on the Gandhian method—Lage Raho Kisanbhai—in protest against the recent decision of the banks for stopping credit to farmers from September 30.
It all started from Patanbori in Yavatmal district last week. Drawing inspiration from the runaway hit Hindi Movie, Lage Raho Munnabhai, these beleagured farmers have now started a novel Gandhian way to protest—Gandhigiri—by washing the feet of the bank manager and worshipping him for his refusal to finance the farmers.