Leaving their families and the district administration sleeping, two farmers near Dhuri committed suicide after slipping out of their homes on Thursday night. Debt in one case and “illegal” land acquisition in the other is said to have pushed them.
Balwinder Singh (55), stressed because officials allegedly eyed his land, hanged himself from a tree at his Rajjomajra village farm, and Harcharan Singh (45), who had both compensation for an accident and a huge loan to repay after crop failure, took his life the same way near his house at Bhalwan village.
In her police statement, Balwinder’s wife, Labh Kaur, said some government officials had transferred her husband’s 2 bighas to the district mandi board by illegal means on October 3 and forced him to move the Punjab and Haryana high court. “On Thursday night, he walked out looking stressed and, later, we found him dead,” she said.
On her statement, police have registered a case against the district mandi officer, a patwari, a tehsildar, and the Dhuri market committee secretary under Sections 306 (abetment to suicide) and 34 (common intent in crime) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). None of the accused is caught yet. The mandi board employees protested against the police to demand that the case against the mandi officer be dismissed. “He has been framed,” said a protesting employee.
Harcharan’s suicide, meanwhile, is blamed on the burden of debt. A court had ordered him to pay Rs 5 lakh as compensation in an accident case; besides, he had experienced crop failure last season; and the marriage of his daughter was coming up, which mounted pressure on him. “He stole past his sleeping family on Thursday night,” said the farmer’s son, Mukhtyar Singh, “and when we woke up on Friday morning, we found his body hanging from a tree outside the house.”