CHANDIGARH(WEB TEAM): In a shocking statement, Haryana Agriculture Minister OP Dhankar has said that farmers who commit suicide are 'cowards' and will not get the government's support.
The minister's statement has come at a time when farmer suicides have caught national attention. Few days ago, Gajender Singh, a farmer from Rajasthan had committed suicide in an AAP rally.
Asked about compensation to kin of farmers who committed suicide, the Minister said, "An institution like government cannot stand behind cowards (those committing suicides) and cannot be with a criminal."
The Congress slammed the Minister's "insensitive" remarks and demanded that he be sacked. The issue also echoed in Parliament with Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi citing it to attack the ruling BJP.
"Your minister in Haryana now says that farmers who commit suicide are cowards. You did not help them when their crops were affected by hailstorm, the farmers bore it. You ended their bonus, they bore it. You did not give them fertilisers, they were lathicharged, but they bore it and now their produce is lying in the markets," Gandhi said in Lok Sabha.
However, this is not for the first time OP Dhankar has made controversial statement.
Earlier, in a speech ahead of the assembly polls last year, Dhankar had promised the youth that he will bring brides from Bihar for them if they are unable to find a match in a state infamous for its skewed sex ratio.
On Monday, the state Chief Minister ML Khattar slammed the previous Congress-led state government for "unwarranted delay" and paying "paltry" sum of compensation to farmers for their damaged crops.
"How insensitive the previous state government was to farmers' problems could be gauged from the amount of compensation paid as it was not the first time natural calamity wrecked havoc in the state," he said.
However, Khattar announced compensation of Rs 1,092 crore to farmers affected by inclement weather conditions, to be disbursed by May 15.