Farmer's suicide triggers tension in Singur

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Singur, Sep 22: Tension ran high in Singur today after an out-of-job farmer allegedly committed suicide near the Tata Motors' small car project area.

The body of Srikanta Shee, 37, was found hanging from a tree near his hut at Sanapara in Gopal Nagar area this morning fuelling the allegation of unemployment and rising incidence of starvation following acquisition of agricultural land for the industrial project.

Local Trinamool Congress MLA Rabindranath Bhattacharjee led demonstrations in front of the Singur police station and Srirampur Walsh Hospital, where Shee's body was taken for post mortem.

This was the fourth incident of a farmer committing suicide in the Singur area over the past one year. The incident took place three days before the Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee's visit to the area for a public rally, to be held to persist with the movement, spearheaded by the Krishi Jami Raksha Committee, demanding that land be returned to the farmers.

Alleging that starvation was the cause of the suicide, Shee's wife Aparna and Mr Bhattacharjee alleged that Srikanta, once an unrecorded bargadar, was out of job after about 997 acres of local crop land was acquired by West Bengal government for the Tatas' project.

Though he was engaged for some time as a construction worker in the project area, he lost that job too about a month ago and since then had been suffering from mental depression.

''He became totally heart broken after our cow went missing yesterday while grazing the project area. We were largely living by selling the cow's milk. But we were prevented by the guards from entering inside project site in search of it,'' Aparna said.

According to her, Srikanta woke up some time around 0230 hours last night and hanged himself with a nylon chord from a guava tree close to the house. Aparna and her mother-in-law Puja informed police immediately after they discovered the body.

However, denying that there was any incidence of starvation in Singur, CPI(M) Zonal Committee Secretary Srikanta Chatterjee alleged that She worked for some local saw mill, lost job because of irregular attendance. He also alleged that the deceased used to live an undisciplined life.


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