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Farmers suicide issue rocks Parliament; PM open to suggestions

School children arrive to watch the proceedings of Indian parliament in New Delhi Congress parliamentary party leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday demanded a judicial probe into the death of a farmer in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) rally in Delhi on Wednesday.

“We want judicial inquiry for this case. My question is when farmers are dying, what compensation are you giving them…I want to ask, where was the police when people were applauding Gajendra Singh climbing tree,” said Kharge.

Both Houses of Parliament witnessed uproarious scenes on Thursday, with agitated opposition parties demanding withdrawal of the controversial land Bill.

In a short speech in the Lok Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Nothing is more important than human life. Because of yesterday’s incident, the grief in country has been expressed here, I also share this grief.”

Modi further added, “We should work together to find solution to the farmer suicide. It (farmers’ plight) is an old, deep-rooted problem. Government will accept all suggestions. Nothing is more valuable than human life.”

Stating that the life of a farmer was most valuable, Modi said, “Please give me suggestions, I will take it into account. Will not betray interests of farmers. We need to work together and therefore I welcome any suggestion. The country is bigger than political parties. We all have to introspect where we went wrong in the last ten months and in the last several years.”

Rajnath Singh, during his speech, said, “I offer my condolences to Gajendra Singh’s family, also from prime minister and government. This matter shouldn’t be politicised.”
“This matter has been asked to be investigated by Crime Branch and have asked police to investigate it in a time-bound manner,” he said.

The home minister said, “We need to figure out what the cause of this is, that more than 60 per cent population still relies on food security… No government will say it is anti-farmer. All governments will claim to be pro-farmers.” He said the government has asked state governments to extend financial support to all farmers affected by untimely rains.

Talking to Business Standard, CPI(M)’s Lok Sabha member M B Rajesh said, “There have been farmer suicides taking place in the country for more than a decade. The root cause of the problem is the neo-liberal economic policies adopted by successive governments. The prime minister, instead of tweeting his condolences over farmer’s death on Twitter, should come out and visit villages. Also it is high time that the government withdrew these economic policies.”