11/06/2015 2:05 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Debt-Ridden Farmer, Who Met Rahul Gandhi About Crop Loss, Commits Suicide

Indian farmers harvest vegetables at a field on the outskirts of Allahabad, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Saturday, May 9, 2015. Agriculture is the main livelihood for more than 60 percent of the 1.2 billion people. (AP Photo/ Rajesh Kumar Singh)

FATEHGARH SAHIB — A debt-stressed farmer, who recently met Rahul Gandhi and told him about agrarian problems, on Wednesday allegedly committed suicide by consuming poisonous substance.

The family of the 60-year-old Surjit Singh, a resident of Dadumajra village, claimed that his debt was mounting and he was unable to pay back the loan from bank and others.

Surjit Singh had taken a loan of Rs.10 lakh from bank and other persons but could not repay, the family claimed.

He also could not get good yield from his crop due to unseasonal rains in March and April this year.

"My father owed six acres but we are tilling 19 acres on contract. Due to less production, the family gets nothing as all the amount is paid to clear dues of land owners. Surjit Singh was under depression. Today, he consumed Celphos (a brand name for compound Aluminium Phosphide)," the farmer's son Kulwinder Singh told Hindustan Times.

The farmer had cultivated his land taken on lease.

Singh had met Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi during his Sirhind grain market visit in April this year.

According to State Congress leaders, Surjit Singh had briefed Rahul Gandhi about the problems faced by Punjab farmers that included selling their paddy and farmers committing suicide. Gandhi had later raised the issue in Lok Sabha.

When contacted, Fatehgarh Sahib SSP Gurmeet Singh Randhawa said the police registered a case under Section 174 (suspicious death) of CrPC in farmer’s suicide case.

Randhawa said that the family of the farmer had told the police that he was under “depression”.

Congress’ Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha Amarinder Singh said “the situation calls for agriculture emergency to tackle the agrarian crisis lest it is too late”.

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