Nashik: “I am a farmer, Dhanaji Chandrakant Jadhav. I am committing suicide today. Please take my body to the village and do not cremate me till Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis comes there.”
These are the last words of Jadhav, a farmer with just 2.5 acres of cultivable land, before he hung himself from a tree near his house at Veet village in Solapur district on Wednesday night.
As the news of his suicide spread, nearly 4000 people thronged his village and blocked traffic on the roads. The anger and the agitation has still not died down.
Jadhav’s request in his suicide letter, which says that he should not be cremated till the CM comes to his village, seems to have fallen on deaf ears as there has been now word from the chief minister’s office so far.
A minister in Fadnavis Cabinet, Vijay Deshmukh, did visit the village and tried to pacify them, but in vain.
Despite the suicide, at a meeting in Nashik where farmer leaders had gathered, it was decided that the agitation and protests must go on. And it has. Over the course of the last three days, Maharashtra’s farmers across districts are protesting in various ways. Throwing away their produce or taking a decision not to cultivate their fields this monsoon. In other parts like Kolhapur, government officer are being locked. Nashik has seen tehsil and gram panchayat face the brunt of the peasants’ anger and frustration. Farmers in Nagpur have decided to not send their produce to cities like Mumbai.
Even after taking these steps, which threaten to hit food supply in the country, the farmers rue that it is their community that is still bearing the losses. The Maharashtra government’s announcement of about Rs 24,000 crore loan waiver to small and marginal farmers is not acceptable for them. The community has given 48 hours to the Maharashtra government to initiate talks.