NHRC agrees to set up investigation into farmers' suicides

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Ahmedabad, Oct 15 (UNI) National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairperson Justice Rajendra Babu has agreed to set up an independent investigation into the farmers' suicide cases of Gujarat after the ensuing assembly elections get over, social activist Bharat Jhala said today.

Addressing mediapersons here after his return from Delhi, Mr Jhala said since the elections dates have been declared, the NHRC would wait for the elections to get over before setting up an independent investigation.

He said according to the NHRC chairperson, since the elections have been declared such an exercise at this time might get a political colour which, otherwise, is a serious lapse on the part of the state to protect the human rights of the farmers, who have committed suicides.

Under the RTI Act, he had procured information from the Gujarat government, in which it has admitted 489 cases of farmers' suicides across the State and 6,055 cases of accidental deaths of farmers over the past four years at the peak of Mr Modi's rule.

Mr Jhala said a 20-member delegation consisting of the family members of farmers, who had committed suicides, visited New Delhi on October 11 and met Chairperson of NHRC, Members of the Planning Commission, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Prithviraj Chavan to appraise them about the farmers plight in the state.

The activist said the delegation met Ms Gandhi and complained that the relief packages for flood-affected farmers in the aftermath of floods of 2005, 2006 and 2007 have not been fully implemented and appealed the Central government to direct the Gujarat government to implement the relief packages immediately.

The delegation demands included immediate release of Rs 5 lakh as immediate assistance package for the families of the dead, loan and interest waiver for below-subsistence level farmers for whom agriculture was the primary source of income and extend pension scheme to surviving widows and their children.

UNI

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