Distressed over crop failure, farmer lights own funeral pyre

Distressed over crop failure, farmer lights own funeral pyre

A 75-year-old farmer, distressed over crop failure, allegedly ended his life by lighting his own funeral pyre at a village in Maharashtra's Akola district, police said today.

Kashiram Bhagwan Indare, who had one acre of land at Manarkhed village in Balapur taluka, was depressed over the failure of cotton and soyabean crops due to inadequate rains in the drought-prone district of Vidarbha, which has gained infamy for farmer suicides.

On Friday last, Indare built a pyre in his field and set it afire, Investigating Officer Mohan Khandare told PTI over the phone.

Ruling out any foul play in the incident, Khandare said the elderly farmer, during conversation with his wife, often talked about "his agony and frustrated state of mind".
Three days back, when he did not return home from the field, a search was launched by his son and other villagers who found him charred to death.

No suicide note was found. Police have registered a case of accidental death, Khandare said.

Meanwhile, seven more suicides by debt-ridden farmers were reported in the last two days from Vidarbha, which was toured by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis last week, according to Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJS), an NGO which has been tracking such deaths.

With these deaths, the number of farmer suicides in the cotton belt, facing water scarcity and agrarian crisis, has gone up to 1,022 till now this year, claimed Samiti's President Kishore Tiwari.

A delegation of farmers led by Tiwari had met Fadnavis in Amravati last week and presented a list of demands.

They demanded Rs 25,000 per hectare compensation for crop failure, complete waiver of crop loans, 100-day wage subsidy under MGNREGA to drought-hit farmers, and free food, health and education facilities for drought-hit families of the region.

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