The priest of a Gurdwara from Haryana, Baba Ram Singh, who joined the farmers' protest, has died by suicide; he had shot himself. The 65-year-old was at the Delhi-Sonipat border at Kundli, where he reached on Tuesday evening. The area is 2 km from the Singhu border, the epicentre of farmers' protest, which is now on its 21st day. In a note, he said he was sacrificing his life "to express anger and pain against the government's injustice".
"I feel the pain of farmers fighting to ensure their rights... I share their pain because the government is not doing justice to them. To inflict injustice is a sin, but it is also a sin to tolerate injustice. To support farmers, some have returned their awards to the government. I have decided to sacrifice myself," read the note he left.
Shyam Lal Poonia, the Deputy Police Commissioner of Sonipat, said Baba Ram Singh had shot himself inside the car. "He was rushed to Park hospital in Panipat and was declared dead on arrival by the doctors," said Mr Poonia.
His followers said the funeral will be held in Karnal on Friday.
Yesterday, Baba Ram Singh, as he is addressed by his followers, had met Gurnam Singh Charhuni, the chief of the Haryana unit of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, and expressed his concern over the deadlock between the government and the farmers.
"We met for around 45 minutes in my tent... He asked about the prevailing situation and was concerned about the farm agitation," said Gurnam Singh Chadhuni, adding, "It is a very big sacrifice".
Most opposition leaders tweeted condolences, the list included Congress's Rahul Gandhi and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the Badals. The Haryana government is yet to comment on the issue.
"Sant Baba Ram Singh from Karnal died by suicide over the farmers' condition at Kundli border. My condolences in this moment of grief... many farmers have sacrificed their lives. The Modi government has crossed all the limits of cruelty. Stop being adamant, take back the anti-farmer laws," Congress's Rahul Gandhi tweeted in Hindi.
"Anguished to hear that Sant Baba Ram Singh ji Nanaksar Singhra wale shot himself at Singhu border in Kisan Dharna, looking at farmers' suffering. Sant ji's sacrifice won't be allowed to go in vain. I urge GOI not to let situation deteriorate any further & repeal the 3 agri laws," tweeted senior Akali Dal leader Sukhbir Badal.
Anguished to hear that Sant Baba Ram Singh ji Nanaksar Singhra wale shot himself at Singhu border in Kisan Dharna, looking at farmers' suffering. Sant ji's sacrifice won't be allowed to go in vain. I urge GOI not to let situation deteriorate any further & repeal the 3 agri laws. pic.twitter.com/2ct4prkcoJ— Sukhbir Singh Badal (@officeofssbadal) December 16, 2020
"The news of Sant Baba Ram Singh Ji's suicide is very painful. In this hour of grief, condolences to his family. Our farmers are asking for their rights. The government should listen to the voice of farmers and withdraw the three laws," Mr Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi.
Since the end of November, tens of thousands of farmers have gathered at the borders of Delhi from Punjab and Haryana, demanding that the three farm sector laws passed by the government in September, be scrapped.
More than 20 of the protesters have died, the farmers' representatives said yesterday. A farmer leader from Maharashtra, Rishipal, said one farmer has died every day on an average since the protest started.
"A Homage Day (Shraddhanjali Diwas) for all the farmers who lost their lives and became martyrs in the ongoing protest will be organised across the country in villages and tehsil headquarters on December 20 from 11 am to 1 pm," he said.
With negotiations between the farmers and the Centre hitting an impasse, the Supreme Court on Wednesday suggested that a panel be formed with representatives from all stakeholders -- the farmers' associations as well as government nominees – to arrive at a solution before the protest goes national.
"Your negotiation will again fail as they won't agree. Give us names of (farmers') organizations that can be before us... This will soon become a national issue and will have to solved through negotiations," Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said.