NEW DELHI: A Sikh preacher who supports farmers’ agitation against the centre’s agricultural laws is said to have committed suicide near the DELHI Singhu border in Delhi on Wednesday, police said.
A handwritten note in Punjabi allegedly left behind by the deceased states that he could not bear the “pain of the peasants”.
The note is being checked by the police.
A Sonipat police officer said they had received a call that Sant Ram Singh, 65, who was from Singhra village in the Nissing area of Karnal district, allegedly shot himself.
He was taken to a hospital in Panipat, where doctors pronounced him dead.
Police said, according to preliminary reports, the clergyman shot himself in his car near the protest site. The police are in the process of recording statements from family members of the deceased.
The body was taken to Karnal in an ambulance for a post-mortem examination. His supporters raised slogans against the Union government.
The body is later taken to Nanaksar Gurdwara in Singhra Village, where a large number of his followers have gathered.
Karnal SP Ganga Ram Punia informed PTI that police officers have been deployed in the area.
“The situation is peaceful and under control,” he said.
In response to the incident, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the Modi government should give up its “stubbornness” and withdraw the laws.
“Sant Baba Ram Singh Ji from Karnal committed suicide after seeing the plight of the farmers on the Kundli border. My condolences and tribute at this hour of grief. Many farmers have sacrificed their lives. The brutality of the Modi government has exceeded all limits stubbornness and immediately withdraw the anti-agricultural law, “he said in a tweet in Hindi.
The spokesman for Congress, Randeep Surjewala, also blamed the government for the incident.
“Modi ji, in the midst of the winter cold, stops playing with the farmers’ feelings,” tweeted Surjewala.
“Why is PM Modi so arrogant? Why is the BJP so persistent? Why are they so insensitive to the farmers? 16 farmers have died in the last 20 days. Lakhs from farmers sit on the borders of Delhi. However, this government does not listen to their complaints, ”he said in another tweet.
Shiromani Akali Dal’s president, Sukhbir Singh Badal, also said he was concerned to hear that the clergyman had committed suicide.
“Sant Ji’s sacrifice cannot be in vain. I urge the Indian government not to let the situation deteriorate further and to repeal the three agricultural laws, ”he said.
SAD spokesman and president of the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee, Manjinder Singh Sirsa, urged farmers to exercise restraint.
“Very sad news has been received that Sant Ram Singh, who devoted his life to serving humanity, committed suicide by shooting himself,” he said on his Twitter handle.
According to Sirsa, the victim wrote in his farewell letter that he could not bear the “pain of the peasants”.
“It is a sin to suffer atrocities and to testify to what I cannot see,” said Sirsa, the clergyman wrote in his suicide note.
Sirsa appealed to farmers to exercise restraint.
“It is a very serious time. As chief sewadar of the DSGMC, I urge you to exercise restraint because anyone can wreak havoc in the agitation of the peasants. It is a very sad incident for all of us, but we have to hold back, ”said Sirsa.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and other states have been protesting near the Delhi borders for three weeks, calling for the center’s farm laws to be repealed.