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MP Farmer Couple Consume Pesticide after Police Destroy their Crops

Pritam Kashyap
Pritam Kashyap
Farmer

A Dalit couple in Madhya Pradesh's Guna district consumed pesticide in a suicide attempt on Tuesday after being forced to watch as their crops were bulldozed by revenue department officials. 

The farmer couple, however, says they have been farming on the land for years now. When police bulldozed their crop, Ram Kumar Ahirwar (38) tried to stop them but he was beaten mercilessly in front of his screaming children. The video of the incident that has surfaced on the internet shows policemen raining blows and beating Ram Kumar with lathis. His wife Savitri Devi (35) tries to defend but she is also pushed. 

As per the officials, the land in Guna was reserved for construction of Model College. The 5.5-acre land was encroached upon by farmer Ramkumar Ahirwar and his wife Savitri Devi. There had been a previous attempt to clear the encroachment which remained unsuccessful. 

Savitri Devi, who is now recovering in hospital, said that the couple had taken a loan of 2 lakh rupees for farming. She asked, “Who will pay our debt? Will govt pay it? If our crop has been destroyed what can we do except killing ourselves?” 

farmer

Nirmal Rathore, Tehsildar of Guna City, who was present at the spot on the day of the incident, 14 July, and under whose watch the eviction drive was being carried out said, “After taking a measurement of the land when the encroachment was being removed with JCB machines, the farmer couple tried to kill themselves by consuming poison.” 

Meanwhile, former Chief Minister Kamal Nath lashed out at the "jungle raj" in the state. 

He tweeted: "A Dalit couple was mercilessly beaten up by the cops. What kind of jungle raj is this? If it was related to government land, it (the issue) can be legally resolved...but beating him, his wife and a kid is not justified....stern action should be taken against those responsible". 

The Guna district administration has said that around 45 bighas (around 12.5 acres) had been grabbed by a local gangster, who used Ram Ahirwar and his debt-burdened family as a front to stop the government from reclaiming the land. Ram Ahirwar had paid the gangster Rs 3 lakh for the land. 

After facing massive flak on social media, the Guna SP and the Collector, who had ordered the eviction drive and defended the police action, were removed from their posts on July 15. 

Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra, in a tweet, said a high-level inquiry has been ordered into the matter. 

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