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Farmers who commit suicide are cowards, says Karnataka Agriculture Minister BC Patil

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Bengaluru, Dec 03: Karnataka Agriculture Minister B C Patil on Thursday said farmers who commit suicide are cowards, drawing flak from the opposition.

Farmers who commit suicide are cowards, says Karnataka Minister

"The farmers who commit suicide are cowards. Only a coward who can't take care of his wife and children commits suicide. When we have fallen (in the water), we haveto swim and win," Patil said addressing farmers at Ponnampet in Kodagu district of Karnataka.

The Congress and JD(S) leaders slammed him for his comments. The Minister was explaining to bamboo growers of Ponnampet how profitable the agriculture business is, but some cowards do not realise that and commit suicide. To buttress his point, Patil cited an example of a woman who was wearing gold bangles.

"When I enquired with her how her hands were full of gold bangles, You know what she said? She said, "This mother earth has given me for my 35 years of toil."

"Doesn't this please you all after listening to this?" Patil told the gathering. He said when a woman who had depended herself entirely on agriculture and achieved big why other farmers cannot do it. Coming down heavily on Patil, former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy termed his statement an insult to the agrarian community. In a series of tweets, he said the self-respecting farmers are forced to end their lives when they are pushed to the extreme situation.

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"Farmers are born with self-esteem and respect. When they don't find any alternative when the money lenders reach their doorsteps to pester them, they take the extreme step.The farmer is not a coward, as Agriculture Minister has said," Kumaraswamy said.

Congress Karnataka unit spokesperson V S Ugrappa condemned the Minister's statement,saying he has shown disrespect to the farming community.

"It's a disrespect to the farmers.He should apologise for it," Ugrappa told PTI. He said the Minister should have gone into the subject to find why some farmers commit suicide. ""No farmer wishes to end life. There are many reasons such as floods and droughts, which have not been understood and solved yet. Instead of understanding the gravity of the problem, the Minister gives such an irresponsible statement," Ugrappa said.

As the controversy grew, Patil issued a statement to clear the air. "I never called farmers cowards. I only said those who commit suicide are cowards," Patil said. He added that the farmers should swim across safely overcoming the difficulties and losses. According to him, the farmers should make use of the comprehensive agriculture policy.

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