Farmer suicide: After posing for cameras, he hanged himself
Minutes before Gajendra Singh, a farmer from Rajasthan, hanged himself from a tree in front of thousands of people at Jantar Mantar, people took his pictures and cheered as he hurled abuses at politicians.delhi Updated: Apr 23, 2015 08:22 IST
Minutes before Gajendra Singh, a farmer from Rajasthan, hanged himself from a tree in front of thousands of people at Jantar Mantar, people took his pictures and cheered as he hurled abuses at politicians.
Hours after his death, those photographs of Singh posing for the camera atop a tree were trending on Twitter till late Wednesday evening.
Thousands had gathered for the AAP Kisan rally at Jantar Mantar on Wednesday afternoon.
At around 12.30 pm, Singh — with a broom in his hand, a white towel with which he later hanged himself and a crumpled 10-line suicide note — climbed the neem tree, less than 50 metres from the dais.
A roadside tea seller who sits next to the tree saw him climbing but did not find it uncommon because he has seen photographers and protesters going up when the gathering is huge.
While there are many versions about the time Singh spent on the tree, the tea-seller’s account -- he said the farmer spent more than an hour -- seems to be the most authentic.
A few others also climbed the tree but sat on different branches. As protesters and photographers took pictures, they soon left him when senior leader Kumar Vishwas started his speech. But Singh was not done. Within minutes, he threw his suicide note and climbed to another branch and hanged himself with the towel.
What followed was commotion.
Vishwas during his speech suddenly pointed to the man he had spotted hanging from the tree. He used the public address system to request the police to save the ‘hanging man.’
The police officials sat helpless and clueless -- many were even captured on tape informing their seniors over the wireless set about the incident. Two men who later claimed to be AAP volunteers climbed the tree to get to the farmer.
“We tried to hold him because one of his legs was caught in a small branch. Four others were holding a carpet below the tree, hoping to catch him if he fell down. We tried our best to cut the towel. When we managed to free him, he had already gone unconscious. He fell on the carpet, which could not hold him and he fell to the ground,” said Shahid, a volunteer.
Singh was rushed to the RML hospital, where he was declared brought dead. Minutes after his death, small groups held protests, accusing Delhi police of not saving the man on time.
Police officers, meanwhile claimed that when they tried to help the farmer, a number of AAP volunteers stopped them.
By evening, when the rally was over, the crowd had shifted to the neem tree, with each finger pointed to the branch where Singh hanged himself. The branches were not the same, nor were their theories.
Singh was a farmer, some said. Others said he was mentally undisturbed. He was even called a politician.