Raj farmer in suicide note, clip blames Gehlot, Pilot

Raj farmer in suicide note, clip blames Gehlot, Pilot

Sohan Lal Meghwal

For the residents of Thakri village in Rajasthan's Sriganganagar district, Sohan Lal Meghwal was a hard-working man, often seen breaking his sweat on Bajra fields or working as a mason. He always spoke about getting his children a good education.

When the unassuming, 45-year-old father of two committed suicide on Sunday taking poison, both the villagers and his family were shocked. Before killing himself, Meghwal had posted a 1 minute 56-second farewell video that he recorded on his phone to his Facebook page.

Neighbours who rushed to his house after watching the video saw that the poison had already been taken; he died en route to the district hospital.

Both the video and a suicide note blame Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot for not delivering on the promise to waive farmers' loans within 10 days of coming to power in the state.

Meghwal says in the note: "They (Congress) had promised that the loans would be waived within 10 days of coming to power, but what has happened to that promise?"

In the video, he says: "I am killing myself on behalf of my farmer brothers who are unable to repay the loan. I request the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government to take note of the farmers and pay back their dues. I also want to apologise to my family and I hope my village stays united after my death."

Meghwal's family said, showing photographs, that he had joined the Congress a few months ago.

A photo of Sohan Lal Meghwal (in front, wearing the Congress shawl) joining the Congress in the presence of party leader Sona Devi (second from left).

"Two months ago, just before the Lok Sabha elections, Meghwal had joined the Congress as a worker in the Raishnagar Congress office in presence of Congress leader Sona Devi, who lost the Assembly seat from that constituency," Balveer, Meghwal's neighbour and one of the people who took him to the hospital, told DH

"During the general elections, he used to attend Congress rallies. He owed a few lakhs to a couple of private banks, which he said he had borrowed for his farm land.

"He was a hard worker and was upset over the Congress government's promise of a farmer loan waiver, which he thought was not happening," Balveer said.

According to the family, he had taken a loan of Rs 3 lakh from the Oriental Bank of Commerce and Syndicate Bank for his 6 bighas of land, but could not benefit from the government's waiver scheme because it only covers loans of up to Rs 2 lakh issued by cooperative banks.

"He was the lone bread winner in a family of five. He used to tell his mother that he can't bear the stress from the loan. He had worked hard for the Congress and was upset that the government is doing nothing for farmers," Meghawal's wife Ganga Devi (40) told DH.

The couple's daughter is in her second year of BA and the son is in Class 11.

Ganganagar Lok Sabha MP N C Chauhan met Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla over the incident and requested to have both the state and central governments serve justice to Meghawal's family and issue suitable compensation.

The Congress had promised loan waivers for farmers in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. In Rajasthan alone, around 16 lakh farmers have taken loans from private banks.

Agricultural loans amounting to around Rs 7,000 has been waived since January, benefiting as many as 19 lakh farmers.

The government is expected to incur a total cost of Rs 18,000 crore over the loan waivers.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox