Man in debt commits suicide with 5-yr-old son
Jaswant Singh, a 36-year-old man who was a farmer from Sahiban village in Punjab, left home on Saturday to take his five-year-old son Jaskaran for a bike ride. Next day, his body was found from a nearby canal. Eyewitnesses have told the police that Jaswant jumped into the canal holding his son in his arms.
He has left behind a grieving wife, a school-going daughter and a bank loan of Rs. 10 lakhs, too much for a farmer with a meagre 1.5 acre of land.
"After failure of crops last year his debt was rising which he was not able to repay. He was under a lot of mental pressure," his relative Balwant Singh said.
Gurdeep Kaur, wife of Jaswant, has appealed to the Punjab government for help. "Now there's nobody left to earn in my family, I urge the government to at least bear the cost of my daughter's education," she said.
Since August last year, farmer suicides triggered by the failure of wheat and cotton crop in Malwa region of the state, continue even during the harvest season.
Agriculture expert Dr Devender Sharma says, "A farmer has ended life with his son thinking that he will not be able to repay debt. This is reflection of how grave the situation is in Punjab and rest of the country. The Government's intention to double farmer income in five years needs more urgency."
Paddy crop has started arriving in grain markets as procurement is already in process since October 1. The Punjab government has set a target of purchasing 150 lakh tonnes of paddy from farmers this season.
Punjab ranks second after Maharashtra among states with most farmer suicides.
With assembly polls in a few months, political parties are out to lure farmers in the state. Akali Dal has promised to continue power subsidy to farmers. The Congress has promised to waive off farm loans within 10 days of coming to power, while the Aam Aadmi Party has also promised to rid all farmers of debt if voted to power in its manifesto for farmers released by its chief Arvind Kejriwal last month.