New Delhi: A Sikh preacher supporting the farmers’ agitation against the Centre’s agriculture laws died by suicide near the Singhu border in Delhi on Wednesday. A handwritten note in Punjabi from the deceased was found, which the police are reviewing. It purportedly says that Sant Ram Singh (65) felt the government is not doing justice to the farmers.
The Sonipat police said they had received a call that Singh, who hailed from Singhra village in Nissing area of Karnal district had shot himself. He was rushed to a hospital in Panipat where doctors declared him brought dead.
The police are in the process of recording statements of the deceased’s family members.
The body was taken to Karnal for a postmortem examination in an ambulance. His followers raised slogans against the Union government.
Later, the body will be taken to the Nanaksar Gurdwara in Singhra village, where a large number of his followers have gathered.
Karnal SP Ganga Ram Punia told news agency PTI that police have been deployed in the area. The situation is peaceful and under control, he said.
According to NDTV, Ram Singh had met the Haryana unit chief of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, Gurnam Singh Chadhuni on Tuesday 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,” Chadhuni told the TV channel.
Sant’s death was condoled by members of opposition parties, who also criticised the Narendra Modi government’s ‘stubbornness’ to not heed the demands of the farmers who are protesting the three new farm laws.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that paid tribute to Sant Ram Singh. “The brutality of the Modi government has crossed all limits. Quit stubbornness and immediately withdraw the anti-agricultural laws,” he said in a tweet in Hindi.
Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal expressed anguish at the cleric’s death.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and other states have been protesting near Delhi’s borders for the past three weeks, demanding that the Centre’s farm laws be repealed. Talks between the government and farmers have failed.
If you know someone – friend or family member – at risk of suicide, please reach out to them. The Suicide Prevention India Foundation maintains a list of telephone numbers (www.spif.in/seek-help/) they can call to speak in confidence. You could also refer them to the nearest hospital.