Reacting to a Sikh priest's death by suicide at Delhi border, senior Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday slammed the centre for not accepting the protesting farmers' demand of repealing the three contentious agriculture laws. He said the Narendra Modi government has crossed "all the limits of cruelty" and it must immediately withdraw the laws.
"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 so adamant, take back the anti-farmer laws," he tweeted in Hindi.
Baba Ram Singh, the 65-year-old priest of a Gurdwara from Haryana who had joined the farmers' agitation at the Delhi-Sonipat border last evening, shot himself, the police said. In an alleged suicide note, he wrote that 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.
Shyam Lal Poonia, the Deputy Police Commissioner of Sonipat, said: "He was rushed to Park hospital in Panipat and was declared dead on arrival by the doctors".
The Shiromani Akali Dal, which had ended its alliance with the ruling BJP at the centre after being slammed over the three laws, demanded that they be revoked immediately.
"Shocked and deeply pained to learn of the demise of Sant Baba Ram Singh Ji and the circumstances surrounding the tragedy. I urge GOI to understand the gravity of the situation regarding the 3 Agri Acts because of which it happened and revoke these immediately," Parkash Singh Badal, the party chief, said.
Shocked & deeply pained to learn of the demise of Sant Baba Ram Singh Ji and the circumstances surrounding the tragedy. I urge GOI to understand the gravity of the situation regarding the 3 Agri Acts because of which it happened & revoke these immediately: S. Parkash Singh Badal. https://t.co/GzY471fCn0— Shiromani Akali Dal (@Akali_Dal_) December 16, 2020
"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.
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.
The farmers fear that the laws will make them susceptible to exploitation from big corporate houses. The government says the laws, by allowing farmers to sell their produce outside the designated agriculture markets, will eliminate the role of middlemen.
Several rounds of farmer-centre talks have failed to end the deadlock.