Could Be Marital Discord, Says Minister After 3 Farmer Suicides In MP

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Could Be Marital Discord, Says Minister After 3 Farmer Suicides In MP

Mandsaur is the epicentre of farmers' protests where 6 farmers were killed in police firing.

New Delhi:  Three farmers allegedly committed suicide over the last 24 hours in Madhya Pradesh - one of them in Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's hometown Sehore. While the families claim they ended their lives under the pressure of huge debt, state home minister Bhupendra Singh had advocated a wait and watch policy.

Admitting that this takes the number of suicides since March to four, home minister Mr Singh said it first needs to be established that the two farmers committed suicide. "Can't say anything till suicide is established as the cause of death by the police," he said.  

Besides, the cause of suicide needs to be determined too, the minister said. "It could be loss of harvest, could also be a marital dispute. "Seventy per cent of the state's population is engaged in agriculture... Just because a farmer has allegedly committed suicide, we can't assume that he did so just because of the burden of debt," he added.

The deaths come as the state is witnessing huge protests by farmers demanding loan waiver and better prices for their crops - its epicenter 400 km away in Mandsaur. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who described himself as a farmer who understands their pain, is yet to make any promises of loan waiver.

The son of Dhulichand, the farmer from Rahata in Sehore, claimed his father had consumed poison - a claim a postmortem examination has not backed up.

His father, the young man said, had been unable to think of any way to pay back loans to the tune of Rs 6 lakh and was "deeply stressed".  "He had loans worth about 4 lakhs. He also had loans from the village, around 1-2 lakhs. All his crops had dried," his son said.

In Hoshangabad's Seoni Malwa, 68-year-old Makhan Lal Digolia hanged himself from a tree.

Four states have waived loans for farmers - neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

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