Rajkot: Saying that he was setting himself on fire to support farmers’ demand for better prices for cotton, the son of a farmer allegedly committed suicide at the sub-yard of Jasdan Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) in Vinchhiya town of Rajkot district on Wednesday afternoon.
The youth, identified as Aravind Nagani (21), walked into the Vinchhiya sub-yard, consumed pesticide and later set himself on fire in a toilet of the yard after dousing himself with kerosene.
Sources confirmed that Nagani is the son of Bhupat Nagani, a farmer from Dharai village in Chotila taluka of Surendranagar district.
The incident comes at a time when farmers of Saurashtra are agitating to demand higher price for cotton and groundnut. The cultivators are demanding that the government should raise minimum support price (MSP) of cotton from the present Rs 800 to Rs 1,000.
“He rushed out of the toilet. People present on the site took him to the community health centre (CHC) in Vichhiya,” Vinchhiya Police sub-inspector Rambhai Ram said.
The police further said that he had not come to the marketing yard to sell any commodity. Later, Nagani was referred to Rajkot Civil Hospital in a critical condition.
“He suffered around 90 per cent burns. When he was brought here, he was conscious but in a critical condition,” said Dr Arjan Babaria, in-charge superintendent of Vinchhiya CHC.
“Nagani was critical when he was shifted here and he died after being treated briefly,” Rajkot Civil Hospital’s head of burns department Sanjay Chauhan said.
After Nagani was brought to the CHC, doctors informed executive magistrate of Vinchhiya, Ashok Makwana, about the incident. The executive magistrate recorded the dying declaration (DD) of youth before he was rushed to Rajkot.
Makwana told The Indian Express that in his declaration, Nagani said, “I have set myself on fire after consuming pesticide in support of the farmers’ demand for better price for cotton.”
The 21-year-old farmer’s son was studying in third year of BSc in Ahmedabad and had come to his native village of Dharai to the attend marriage of his elder brother, family sources said.
“He had also joined the Aam Aadmi Party. He took pesticide and kerosene from his farm and directly went to Vinchhiya. Nobody in the family knew where he had gone until we received news that he set himself on fire in the Vinchhiya yard,” said Bhala Nagani, the victim’s cousin.
“No dharna or agitation was going on at the yard, nor had anybody sought any permission for such an event. This is a very unfortunate incident,” said Jasdan APMC president Satyajit Khachar.
Incidentally, Gujarat government had announced a relief package worth Rs 1,100 crore for farmers of the state in form of waiver of interest on crop loans and relief in electricity bills.
However, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh and Congress, the two organisations which are leading the farmers’ agitation, have rejected the package while sticking to their demand of a rise in the MSP of cotton.
Meanwhile, the Congress announced that it would block roads in Jasdan and Vinchhiya to protest against the self immolation as well as the continued…