Farmer Suicides in Gujarat have come under the scanner after Arvind Kejriwal’s recent comments in Varanasi. Arvind Kejriwal attacked the Gujarat model of Development by pointing at the high number of farmer suicides in Gujarat. Gujarat Government rebutted Kejriwal’s allegations in an official statement which has been published on various news websites. Gujarat Government states:
When he (Kejriwal) came here (Gujarat), he said 800 farmers died in the state during last ten years, but now (in Varanasi) he increased the number to 5574, But the fact is that only one farmer has committed suicide due to crop failure.
By quoting the figure of “1 farmer suicide in 10 years due to crop failure”, Gujarat Government is indulging in blatant LIES to save its face. Bharatsinh Zala, who is associated with CRANTI (Citizen Resource and Action Initiative) and also a member of Jan Sangharsh Manch (the driving force behind Truth Of Gujarat) has filed several RTI applications over the years as part of his struggle to get compensation for the families of farmers who have died due to various reasons including suicide. Figures of farmer suicides from 2003-2007 as obtained through RTI reply dated 23 August, 2007, are tabulated below:
Further more, when NHRC (National Human Rights Commission) sent a query to Gujarat Government (Letter No. CAU/NHRC/1045/07 Dt. 28/11/07) to confirm the number of suicides during the period of 2003-2007, Deepak Swaroop, the then Additional Director General of Police (SC/ST/WS & Human Rights), furnished the figure of 563 farmer suicide deaths between 2003 and October 2007. Additionally, Dr Meera Ramnivas, the then DIG of Police, CID Crime, gave a breakup of the reasons due to which farmers had committed suicide. They are as follows:
The reply throws light on the official figures of suicides due to crop failure between 2003 and October 2007. According to Gujarat Government, 11 farmers have committed suicide due to failure of crop from 2003-2007.Â Therefore the statement issued by Gujarat Government which states that there has been only 1 farmer suicide due to crop failure is blatant falsification of the highest order.
Further more, in the period between 1st January 2008 to 20th August 2012, according to the numbers collected through various RTI queries, there have been 121 farmer suicides.
Further, there have been 44 suicides in the period of August 2012 to October 2012. Details of the 44 farmers can be seen in the images below including the reason for their suicide as documented in the last column. Most of the suicides have been due to crop failures.
Besides the documented cases of farmer suicides, through the RTI reply dated 23 August, 2007, it has also been found that there have been 6055 cases of Accidental Deaths (i.e. NOT Natural deaths) between 2003 and 2006. According to the policy of Gujarat Government, all farmers who die due to ‘Accidental Reasons’ are to be given a compensation of 1 lakh Rupees under the Farmers’ Insurance Scheme. However, only 1909 farmers out of the 6055 farmers have actually received the insurance amount. The details regarding the same are tabulated as under:
In case of Accidental deaths of farmers, the insurance companies undertake detailed studies of the deceased before issuing the insurance amount. The post-mortem reports are studied and all the medical records are checked thoroughly. After doing a detailed study, if a case of accidental death is made, then the insurance amount is given to the family of the deceased. Since the Insurance companies themselves deemed that only 1909 cases out of the total 6055 reported cases are cases of accidental deaths, in the absence of further clarifications from the Gujarat Government, it has to be presumed that the rest 4146 cases in which the insurance amount was not given were actually cases of suicide which the Gujarat Police was trying to pass as cases of Accidental Death.
If we add up all the numbers (563+121+44+4146), we get to 4874 farmer suicides in the period between 2003 to 2012. It is extremely shameful that Gujarat Government would indulge in such lies to mislead the entire country and hurt the Asmita of 6 Crore Gujaratis.