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Farmer's death becomes political football in Telangana

Posted July 31st, 2020, 10:28 AM IST

Farmer's death becomes political football in Telangana

The death by suicide of a Dalit farmer has become a political issue in Telangana after reports emerged that he had been harassed by local administration official to surrender his land for a Rythu Vedika (farmers' forum) building.

The incident took place in Veluru village in Siddipet district. The farmer, Byagari Narsimhulu, died after consuming pesticide in his fields.

Byagari Narsimhulu was allegedly being pressed to give away his quarter acre of land for the construction of a Rythu Vedika building. Allegedly to exert pressure on him, local revenue officials did not enter his land details in the records.

Frustrated by this, Narsimhulu allegedly drank pesticide in his farm on Wednesday. He was taken to the Gajwel Government Hospital and then to the Siddipet Government Hospital where he died while undergoing treatment in the early hours of Thursday.

Sensing the political fallout of a farmer suicide, the government set out to appease the bereaved family. Minister T Harish Rao met the family on Thursday and promised them an acre of land as ex gratia compensation. He also promised to arrange for free education for Narsimhulu's children.

Harish Rao promised an inquiry into the circumstances of the farmer's death.

Narasimhulu's village Veluru falls in Gajwel, a constituency represented by chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao. Sensing an opportunity, a BJP delegation including Vivek Venkataswamy, Mothkupalli Narsimhulu, Babu Mohan, N. Ramchander Rao and Raja Singh went to the village "to find out the facts behind the incident." They were detained.

Congress leaders demanded that the people responsible for the death of Narsimhulu be arrested under SC and ST (prevention of atrocities) Act. They alleged that people belonging to underprivileged communities have been targeted and attacked since the Telangana Rashtra Samiti came to power in 2014. Congress leaders who went to "console" the family of the farmer too were detained by the police.