50 days of Farmers' protest: Over 50 commit suicide, 70 deathstext_fields
New Delhi: Come what may, protesting farmers near Delhi's borders for 50 days now, have reasserted their vow to take the agitation unto their end when goals are achieved.
By now, more than 50 farmers have committed suicide and more than 20 have died due to illness contracted at protest due to exposure to intense cold and fog and for other reasons.
On Thursday, Sucha Singh of Khokhar village of Gurdaspur District, who took the fatal step by consuming poison at Kahnwan toll plaza.
Demonstrators led by the leaders of 40 farmers' organisations have been camping at Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur borders, demanding the withdrawal of the new farm laws.
The farmer leaders have cautioned their followers against taking extreme steps as number of protesters suiciding are edging up each day.
According to NGOs running medical camps at the protest sites, though the farmers are brave in their spirit, some of them have become vulnerable, may be due to a "sense of waning hope".
US-based NGO, United Sikhs, has started carrying out counselling session for farmers at their camp set up in the protest sites.
"These farmers have been sitting for over 40 days on a national highway as part of this agitation. While most can withstand the physical rigour and biting cold as they are used to working hard, some of them have fallen prey to anxiety, depression and also hopelessness coupled with lack of self-esteem and feeling of frustration. It is a dangerous combination," she told PTI.
Baba Naseeb Singh Maan, who shot himself on Monday, was heard saying before committing the act that if the government did not pay heed to their demands, they would start giving "shahadat" (sacrifice) like Gurus.
Taking note of the precarious situation, the farmer leaders have appealed to choose struggle over suicide.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leaders Buta Singh and Jagmohan said farmers should not commit suicide and urged them to join the struggle.
The protestors will take out marches towards the Raj Bhavans (Governor's House) in different states on January 23 and also take out a parade on tractors on January 26 against the Centre's three farm laws.
On Saturday, a 60-year-old Chennai man died of suicide before which he wrote a suicide not in which he extended his support to the protesting farmers and had criticized the new farm laws.
Meanwhile, the anger against the government over turning a blind-eye towards the farmers' death is intensifying.
Many were seen questioning the Centre's stance which said that it is ashamed of protests scheduled on Republic day but are not ashamed of the continuing death of farmers.
The farmers have been camping on the Delhi borders since November 26 demanding repeal of the three contentious farm laws.
Several rounds of talks with the government did not helped to solve the impasse as the Centre was adamant on its stance that the laws will not be repealed.
On Tuesday the Supreme Court put a ban on the operation of the laws and constituted a committee to look into the effect the laws are to have on the farmers.