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Farmers’ suicides: Protest greets Kumaraswamy

MYSURU

On a day the coalition government completed six months in office, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy had to face some embarrassment and farmers’ anger in the JD(S) bastion. Hours before his visit to Mandya to inaugurate development works on Friday, two farmers, unable to repay loans, committed suicide.

In his death note addressed to the CM, one of the farmers, Jaikumar (43) of Kanahatti village in Pandavapura taluk, sought help for his family, including his wife and two children. Another farmer, Biliyaiah (58), ended his life by consuming pesticide in Tagahalli of Maddur taluk. The farmers’ suicide sparked protests against the government.

Prior to the CM’s rally, police had to arrest the protesting farmers, including Raitha Sangha activists. The coalition government has found itself at the receiving end of farmers’ wrath in recent months. While sugarcane farmers are up in arms over pending dues from factories and demanding better support price, the delay in implementing farm loan waiver too seem to be making farmers restive.  On Friday, farmer Jaikumar committed suicide by consuming poison in his fields. He owned 35 guntas and was cultivating sugarcane and vegetables.

He had borrowed `2.85 lakh and was  also suffering from cancer. Doctors had told him that the treatment will cost `3 lakh. After farmers resorted to protest in Mandya and demanded Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to visit the farmer’s village, District Minister C S Puttaraju, on the directions of the CM, rushed to the village. The minister and the villagers entered into a wordy duel over paying compensation. While villagers insisted on `15 lakh as compensation, minister Puttaraju said the government will pay `5 lakh compensation and he will personally deposit another `5 lakh to fund the education of farmer Jaikumar’s two children’s education.

Tension prevailed in the village when the Raitha Sangha members raised slogans against Kumaraswamy and C S Puttaraju, while JD(S) workers raised slogans against Raitha Sangha and its leader K S Puttannaiah. Kumaraswamy appealed to the farming community not to act in haste as the government is doing its best to protect them. The farmer was suffering from cancer and has committed suicide during his visit with a request to help his family, the CM said. Accusing the media of blowing up the issue, he asked farmers not to lose hope as his government is for the farmers.

Meanwhile, farmer Biliyaiah of Dudda hobli, who was rushed to a hospital did not respond to treatment. Biliyaiah owned 1 acre and 10 guntas of land and was into sericulture and sugarcane cultivation. He had borrowed `1 lakh from DCC bank, `80,000 from a self-help group also a hand loan of `50,000. Unable to repay loans and with nothing to fall back on, he took the extreme step. Koppa police have registered a case.

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