In 2014, a total of 5,650 farmers committed suicide across India, but almost half of those suicide cases were reported from Maharashtra. It was revealed in the first ever comprehensive data on farmers’ suicides by National Crime Records Bureau.
The reasons for these farmers’ death, according to the report, were poor debt, bankruptcy, crop failure or family problems.
Three of the top four states with maximum number of farmers’ suicides were those where BJP had governments. This included Maharashtra (2,568 suicide cases), Telangana (898), Madhya Pradesh (826) and Chhattisgarh (443).
And yet, the senior public representatives belonging to the ruling BJP have time and again made fun of farmers’ plight.
The latest in the series is Madhya Pradesh MLA, Rameshwar Sharma, who has made astonishingly insensitive comments about farmers being forced to end their lives due to extreme poverty.
In the video shared by news agency ANI, Sharma said that those who committed suicides weren’t ‘real farmers’ but those who were in the habit of licking government subsidies.
Sharma said, “Mare vo kisaan hain jo kisaan kum aur subsidy chaatne ka vyapaar zyada karte hain (Those who have committed suicide are those who had less credibility as farmers and more of traders licking government subsidies.”
BJP Madhya Pradesh MLA Rameshwar Sharma says 'Mare vo kisaan hain jo kisaan kum aur subsidy chaatne ka vyapaar zyada karte hain' pic.twitter.com/XdghFAUSK6
— ANI (@ANI) February 17, 2017
It appears that Sharma isn’t the only BJP politician with utter disdain for India’s farmers.
In February last year, a BJP MP from Maharashtra, Gopal Shetty had said that those committing suicides were doing so because it had become a fashion trend.
Shetty was quoted, “All farmer suicides are not only because of hunger and unemployment. There is a fashion, a trend is on. If Maharashtra government is giving Rs 5 lakh, another government is giving Rs 7 lakh, Rs 8 lakh. There is a competition going on to give money to farmers.”
In 2015, soon after Narendra Modi won a historic mandate at the Centre, his agriculture Minister, Radha Mohan Singh, blamed dowry, drugs, love affairs and impotency for over 1400 farmer suicides in India that year.
“According to the National Crime Records Bureau, causes of (farmer) suicides include family problems, illness, drugs… dowry, love affairs and impotency,” Singh said in a written reply to a question, while not ruling out debt as one of the reasons at the same time.
The remarks immediately sparked off a furore by the Opposition, which had been targeting the government for a long time over the controversial land bill, deemed as anti farmer.