इंडियन आवाज़     05 Dec 2023 06:04:17      انڈین آواز

Love affairs, impotency behind farmer suicides: Agriculture Minister


New Delhi: In a major political gaffe, union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said that Dowry, love affairs and impotency were among the reasons for the deaths of over 1,400 farmers in 2014.

“According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), causes of (farmer) suicides include family problems, illness, drugs…dowry, love affairs and impotency,” he said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on Friday to a question on what had caused the death of so many farmers in the country.

The minister’s reply, however, did not rule out debt as one of the reasons.

The minister also cited NCRB data to show that the total number of suicides committed by persons working in the farming or agriculture sector were 13,754, 11,772 and 5,650 in 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively.

The number of suicides by farmers due to agrarian distress, as reported by the state governments, was 1,066, 890 and 1,400 during 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively.

The figure up to June 2015 is 263, the reply said.

Meanwhile, the minister’s reply triggered a storm with opposition parties accusing the government of “insensitivity”.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi ask his ministers to visit the houses of farmers to “see what is going on”.

Communist Party of India leader D. Raja said the reply showed the government “callousness” towards farmers’ suicides, which occured due to “unprecedented debt crisis” faced by them and demanded that the central government take steps to come to their rescue.

Janata Dal-United leader K.C. Tyagi said apart from insensitivity, the statement was an “insult” to the country’s farmers. He threatened to move a privilege notice against the minister for “misleading” parliament.

Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agrawal demanded an apology from the minister, terming his remarks “irresponsible” while Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury dubbed as “ridiculous” the reasons given for the farmers suicides while the ground reality, he said, was different.

He said that the number of distress suicides had gone up by 26 per cent in the last one year since the NDA alliance came to power at the Centre and the reply was meant to “divert attention” from the actual reasons for suicides.

Facing a political storm, Radha Mohan Singh sought to downplay the controversy, saying the answer was based on a NCRB report, which the government cited in the replies.

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