Farmer suicides: Male members dead, family stares at uncertain future
“I can’t afford to cry. If I become weak, it will be a problem. My daughter-in-law needs me as she lost husband at a young age, and so does my granddaughter.”punjab Updated: Aug 06, 2017 10:29 IST
Putting a brave face, Jaspal Kaur (60) of Chanarthal Khurd village in the district is consoling her daughter-in-law Rajbir Kaur (32) and eight-year-old granddaughter Amanpreet alias Ashu after her son Devinder Singh (32) committed suicide on Wednesday.
With three men having committed suicide, all related to farm debt, the family is left with only female members now. Whenever some men come to mourn the demise, Ashu calls her father’s cousin Fateh Singh, who lives in their neighbourhood, to attend to the visitors.
Jaspal Kaur’s husband Gurlabh Singh (65) committed suicide last December after a decade-long struggle repaying debt the family owed to commission agents. The couple’s younger son Gurpreet Singh (21) died in 2009, when a commission agent sold their 4-acre land as debt repayment.
“I can’t afford to cry. If I become weak, it will be a problem. My daughter-in-law needs me as she lost husband at a young age, and so does my granddaughter,” said Jaspal.
She says Rs 4 lakh debt finished her entire family. “It all started in 1994 when we took Rs 2 lakh from a commission agent. We paid almost Rs 25 lakh, our land was sold and still Tiwana (commission agent) didn’t settle our debt. Our land was sold for 60 lakh and debt and interest was Rs 25 lakh but he didn’t give us our surplus money which he got by selling the land. The sale of land led to the suicide of my Son Gurpreet as he went under depression. My husband committed suicide during a protest against a commission agent,” she says.
An inconsolable Rajbir says, “ There is no justice here and no one takes care of farmers,” she says. She is only Class 8 passout thus can’t get a job. “How she will take care of my daughter?”
Admn sends team to help family
After the tragic suicide of Devinder, deputy commissioner Kanwalpreet Brar has sent a team of officials to extend help to the family. The DC said forms of Devinder’s mother for old age pension and his wife for widow pension have been filled.