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Uproar over farmer's suicide, police accuse AAP of hindering rescue

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Uproar over farmers suicide, police accuse AAP of hindering rescue
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New Delhi/Jaipur: Delhi Police on Thursday accused AAP members of obstructing efforts to save the farmer who committed suicide at a party rally. The issue turned into a slanging match between the AAP and the central government, and caused ripples in parliament, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a collective resolve to end farmer suicides.

Members of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha expressed pain and anguish over Rajasthan's Gajendra Singh committing suicide by hanging himself from a tree at an Aam Aadmi Party rally at Jantar Mantar in the capital on Wednesday.

As Gajendra Singh was on Thursday cremated in his Nangal Jhamarwara village in Dausa district of Rajasthan, tearful people raised slogans against the government.

In their first information report (FIR) in the case, Delhi Police accused the Aam Aadmi Party and its leaders of obstructing efforts to save the farmer.

The FIR said AAP workers and leaders did not pay heed to requests made by police to allow emergency vehicles and the fire brigade to move in.

The FIR was registered under sections dealing with abetment to suicide and obstructing public servant in discharge of public duty.

It said police asked AAP workers not to "instigate" Gajendra Singh but they continued to "incite" the farmer by clapping.

The man later hanged himself and was declared dead at the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

Delhi Police on Thursday also refused to join the magisterial probe ordered by the city government into the suicide and said police were conducting their own probe.

The family of the farmer, whose crops were destroyed by unseasonal rain causing him distress, hit out at the AAP over his death, saying none of its leaders tried to dissuade him during the party's protest against the land ordinance.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh made a statement in the Lok Sabha in response to the concern of members, and termed the incident "shameful". He said Delhi Police have been asked to do a time-bound probe.

His statement that Delhi Police had taken steps to bring Gajendra Singh down from the tree but could not engage him in conversation as the crowd at the rally continued cheering their leaders was contested by AAP leaders.

The AAP accused Rajnath Singh of "lying" and making misleading statements.

AAP leaders also accused the BJP-led central government of using Delhi Police as "a tool".

The AAP on Thursday announced an assistance of Rs.10 lakh for the family of Gajendra Singh and promised to support his children's education.

Speaking in the Lok Sabha after the home minister, Prime Minister Modi said the entire nation was pained at the suicide and he was joining parliament members in expressing their anguish.

He said the problem of suicide by farmers was "old and widespread" and called for a collective response to end it.

"That collective resolve should come out in today's discussion that we will all together not let our farmers' die (commit suicide). This is the prayer I have from the house," Modi said.

He earlier in the day met his ministers over the incident and was briefed by Rajnath Singh.

After the Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi asked the district magistrate of New Delhi to probe the suicide, Delhi Police wrote to him that they were already conducting a probe.

"We have written a letter saying that he (the district magistrate) has no jurisdiction," Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi told the media.

Bassi also said the preliminary medical report based on the autopsy of Gajendra Singh revealed that the cause of his death was hanging.

The AAP leadership faced criticism from the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party for continuing with the rally even after the farmer was taken to hospital.

"It is criminal negligence," Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.

Congress leader Deepender Hooda asked: "Why didn't the police personnel do anything? Why did the leaders present there continue with their speeches?"

Gajendra Singh's uncle Gopal Singh told IANS: "Why did no leader of the Aam Aadmi Party try to dissuade him (from climbing the tree)? We hold police and the AAP leadership responsible for his death."

The day also saw protests by Congress workers outside Kejriwal's residence. Congress workers also lit candles at Jantar Mantar.

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