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India


Widows of farmers who committed suicide cry their hearts out

Widows of farmers who committed suicide cry their hearts out

By Gargi Parsai

New Delhi, Nov 20 (UNI) Floodgates of suppressed emotions opened at the Kisan Sansad here as woman after woman from different states narrated how lack of remunerative prices for farm commodities had led her husband to commit suicide and reduced her to penury.
With larger families not recognising the rights of the women over the joint land-holding, farmers’ widows, especially the young ones, have mostly been left to fend for themselves, pay the debt left behind by their deceased husband and bring up their children on meagre daily wages.
No woman was narrating her story -- each was crying out her pent up agony. Several women held photographs of their dead husbands. "Nobody is listening to us. We are dying,’’ the distressed women said.
Of the nearly 6000 to 7000 farmers who gathered from parts of the country at Parliament Street here under the aegis of All-India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) about 3000 were women farmers and widows of farmers who committed suicide in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab.
So heart-rending was the story of Kantabai Pandurang Bhuse from Latur district whose “very beautiful” teenaged daughter committed suicide so that her debt-ridden father did not have to worry over her dowry, that it brought tears to many an eye.
“By taking my own life, I am relieving my parents of their agony. Being small farmers in debt, they will not be able to arrange my dowry from the daily wages that my father earns,’’ the girl, a student, wrote in her suicide note.

“Today my beautiful daughter is gone, tomorrow nobody’s lovely child should go, that is why I am here,’’ Kantabai said in a choked voice.
Noted activist Medha Patkar, in the role of the “Speaker”, had tears in her eyes as she sought a vote on Kantabai’s 'very tragic story'.
“Kantabai is the wife of a small farmer who has one acre land and has to do daily labour to make both ends meet. She wanted to share her story so that she gets the ear of the government,’’ she said.
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