Published On : Wed, Apr 29th, 2015

National outrage over Haryana Minister calling farmers cowards and criminals

om-prakash-11718-02-2015-11-51-99NChandigarh: While the whole country is worried and  concerned over farmer suicides, the agriculture minister of Haryana, Om Prakash Dhankar, has displayed  insensitivity  and arrogance with his comment that “farmers who commit suicide are cowards and criminals.””According to Indian law, suicide is a crime. A person who commits suicide runs away from his responsibilities. Such people are cowards and the government cannot stand by such cowards, such criminals,” Mr Dhankar told reporters on Tuesday.

Predictably this statement received scathing criticism from opposition party politicians. Jyotiraditya Scindia, MP from Rajasthan who accompanied Rahul Gandhi to Punjab yesterday, said such statements are so reprehensible that even criticizing them is giving them too much importance. By no stretch of imagination can one blame Indian farmers of being cowards, let alone criminals.

“It is really sad that when they are experiencing such hardships and tragic losses this is what they get to hear. Is this the true face of BJP that we are now getting to see?” asked Scindia.

The Minister’s attempts at damage control today did not help. In round 2 with the media, the minister defended his comments and said, “Suicide par Naatak ho rahaa hai. What happened in Delhi was drama, motivated murder. Haryana is the land of the brave. We don’t want to encourage suicides here. People who commit suicide are running away from their duties and transferring the burden to their wives and children.”The minister said he was referring to the Rajasthan farmer who hanged himself at an Aam Aadmi Party rally in Delhi.

Mr Dhankar’s comment embarrasses his party, the ruling BJP, at a time it is battling criticism over a proposal to make it easier to buy farm land for infrastructure and other key projects.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who has thrown himself into a countrywide farmer outreach campaign lately, used the minister’s comments to target PM Modi and the BJP in Parliament.

“” Your Prime Minister, our Prime Minister, hum sab ka PM,  is visiting India these days. He should visit Punjab and speak to farmers,” said the Congress vice president, in a dig at the prime minister’s foreign visits.

“When will he take out time to visit hinterlands of India?” asked Rahul.