Counselling for flood-hit farmers in Vidarbha

Activists in the rain-and-flood-hit Vidarbha region have decided to take out a three-day rally, called “Samvad Yatra”, from Tuesday to counsel farmers who are on the verge of mental collapse after the monsoon ravaged their fields.

Over the last three months, there have been reports of at least 200 farmers ending their lives following crop devastation coupled with a cessation of food, medical and credit aid from government agencies.

Social issue

Talking to Deccan Herald from Nagpur, farm activist Kishore Tiwari said the problem of farmers committing suicide was not just political but “a social issue, and its complexity has to be understood in entirety.”

“The piecemeal approach by shortsighted politicians is like administering vitamin injections to a person having cancerous tumour. The government does not want to see the tumour but just wants to keep on giving feel-good hallucinatory herbs,” he said.

Elaborating on the “Samvad Rally,” Tiwari said psychologists specialising in counselling would accompany social activists.

“These counsellors specialise in handling distressed and depressed people. We want the farmers to take up the issue and fight for their rights,” he said.

“The situation is grim. It is like an epidemic. Last week there reports of 24 suicides from the Yavatmal district. The flood of suicide reports is concomitant with the heavy monsoon, something which the otherwise dry Vidarbha faced this year after decades.”

The rally will conduct ground-auditing and prepare an assessment report, apart from video-taping conversations with farmers in street-corner meetings.

“We intend to send these video-tapes to the President, Prime Minister and National the Human Rights Commission... so that they can see for themselves the kind of human rights violation taking place every day, every minute,” said Tiwari.

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