The administration said the “debt-ridden” farmer, who committed suicide during a protest in front of Punjab finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa’s residence here on Monday, was a rice-miller, who had taken huge loan from banks to keep his rice milling business afloat.
“According to SDM’s report, he had no land and the loan was due to his rice mill which he later sold,” said, Poonamdeep Kaur, additional deputy commissioner, on Tuesday.
The district administration’s effort to determine deceased’s profession virtually snowballed into controversy when the district officials asserted that the deceased was having about 9 bigha of land and he had taken about Rs 22 lakh loan and established a sheller spread over 6 bigha.
The deceased, Darshan Singh (50), reportedly owed nearly Rs 22 lakh to banks and moneylenders and consumed poison during the protest by 13 farmer and labour unions, which were demanding farm-debt waiver among other demands.
Joginder Singh Ugharana, president, BKU (Ugharana), said Darshan did have a rice mill and cultivated the rest of the land which was in his father’s name, however, he was betrayed by his partners due to which he had a debt.
The body is still in Rajindra hospital where he died 9:30 pm last night. The unions have said the postmortem would not be done till the family of the victim gets assurance for compensation.
“We demand Rs 10 lakh for the family, a government job to a family member and waiver off his loan” Joginder Ugharana added.
Meanwhile Poonamdeep Kaur, additional deputy commissioner, said, “We are rechecking the records. Darshan’s case would be considered as farmer suicide case only if our records confirm it.”
Despite the case being unresolved on Tuesday, the administration assured to provide Rs 10 lakh to the family and waive off Rs 3 lakh debt of a cooperative bank, farmers claimed.
“We cannot give them (kin of Darshan) appointment letter, but we assure that we will inquire into alleged fraud in his business,” said Sewa Singh Malhi, SP (D).
Counter claim: Farmers body claim Darshan did have a rice mill and cultivated the rest of the land which was in his father’s name, however, he was betrayed by his partners due to which he had a debt