Fourth suicide at protest as farmer consumes poison

The man, Amrinder Singh, allegedly consumed poison at the protest and was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he died during treatment.

A 39-year-old farmer committed suicide at Singhu border on Saturday — the fourth person to take his own life at protests against the new farm laws. The man, Amrinder Singh, allegedly consumed poison at the protest and was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he died during treatment. His body will be handed over to the family, which hails from Machrai Kalan in Punjab’s Fatehgarh Sahib.

“He consumed poison near the main stage. It happened when the stage was being wrapped up for the day. He collapsed in front of other farmers. We immediately took him to a hospital, where he passed away. The death occurred at 7.20 pm,” said Baljeet Singh, convenor of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha’s IT Cell.

According to farmers, the man consumed sulphas tablets backstage, around 4.30 pm. Amrinder then walked to the front of the stage and collapsed. Panic soon spread among protesters and a mobile ambulance was summoned. Protesters cleared the way and he was taken to Frank Institute of Medical Sciences in Sonipat.

Protesters said Amrinder had been at Singhu for a few days.

The village sarpanch, Jeet Singh, said, “He had about an acre of land in the village and that too not very fertile. About 2-3 years ago, he started living in the town area of Fatehgarh Sahib, while his widowed mother Nachhtar Kaur was living in the village home. As he hardly had any farm income, he started working as a conductor with a private bus company. I’m not aware of what he was doing these days.”

Amrinder is survived by his mother, wife and two teenage kids — a boy and a girl. His father was in the Army and died in the late 80s in a road accident. His uncle Darbara Singh will go to Sonipat with the sarpanch to collect Amrinder’s body on Sunday.

Said Jeet Singh: “I have also been to Singhu and even now two trolleys from our village are permanently parked there. It has become an emotional matter in Punjab.”

Jagmohan Singh Patiala, general secretary of BKU Dakaunda, said, “We are shocked. We repeatedly appeal to people to continue the struggle instead of committing suicide.”

The suicide comes in the wake of three cases of suicide and one attempt since the protest started. Sant Baba Ram Singh (65), a religious leader from Haryana’s Karnal district, shot himself near Kundli; Amarjit Singh Rai (63) from Punjab’s Fazilka district consumed pesticide at the Tikri protest site; and Kashmir Singh Dass, a septuagenarian, hanged himself at the Ghazipur protest. Niranjan Singh from Punjab’s Tarn Taran district attempted suicide at the Singhu border by consuming pest control tablets.

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