Karnataka environmentalist activist fighting graft at village ration shop ends life

Published on Sep 21, 2022 12:28 AM IST

Officers of Harihara rural police said villagers found 68-year-old Veerachari’s body at Mittlakatte village of Harihar taluk in Davanagere district.

Noted environmentalist and Kannada Rajyotsava award winner “Salumarada” Veerachari died allegedly by suicide on Tuesday (Representative Photo)
Noted environmentalist and Kannada Rajyotsava award winner “Salumarada” Veerachari died allegedly by suicide on Tuesday (Representative Photo)
By, Bengaluru

Noted environmentalist and Kannada Rajyotsava award winner “Salumarada” Veerachari died allegedly by suicide on Tuesday in Davanagere district over insults he suffered while protesting corruption in his village’s public distribution system shop, his family and villagers said.

Officers of Harihara rural police said villagers found 68-year-old Veerachari’s body at Mittlakatte village of Harihar taluk in Davanagere district.

Veerachari was popularly known in the region as “Salumarada” (series of trees) Veerachari. In the past 40 years, he is said to have planted more than 4,000 saplings in the region. He was awarded Karnataka Rajyotsava award for his contribution to environmental causes.

According to villagers, Veerachari was insulted by the owner and staff of a fair price shop in the village at the deputy commissioner’s office.

Veerachari’s friend Jagadish said he was fighting irregularities at the fair price shop in the village since 2016. “The fair price shop owner in the village does not give the right quantity of rice. Instead of 50 kg, he just gives us 30 kg, when questioned he abuses us. Veerachari had approached officials on multiple occasions to get him replaced,” he told the media.

“The shop owner had lost his licence but he got it again because of his influence. On Monday, we had gone to the DC office where the shop owner along with his men insulted and threatened him after which he ended his life,” Jagadish said.

“My father has been fighting for over eight years against the corruption at the shop. He ended his life over this fight and we want justice. We want action against the shop owner,” said Chandrakala, the daughter of the deceased.

The deputy commissioner of Davanagere district is yet to respond to HT’s queries in the case.

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