Saturday, May 26, 2007

Singur simmers over farmer's suicide

Kolkata : In the second such suicide since March, a farmer Thursday hanged himself in Singur, triggering fresh tension in the trouble-torn area in West Bengal that is on the boil over land acquisition for a Tata Motors project.

The 40-year-old farmer hanged himself from the ceiling of the cowshed of his house and his body was found in the wee hours of Friday, senior police official Kalyan Mukherjee said.

He was a resident of Khaserveri area in Singur, about 40 km from Kolkata in Hooghly district.

Das was a member of the anti-land acquisition Singur Krishijami Raksha Committee (SKRC) and was one of those injured in the September 2006 police baton charge in the area during the peak of Singur protests.

While the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) said the farmer's suicide was not related to land acquisition, Home Secretary Prasad Ranjan Roy admitted that Das probably was one of the farmers who refused cheque (money as compensation for the project).

"We are waiting for the post-mortem report. He probably did not accept money for the land," Roy said.

Das' land was acquired by the government for the Tata Motors small car factory coming up in the area, Becharam Manna, a leader of SKRC, told IANS.

"He was depressed. He had not been able to till his land for one year and was worried about the future of his two daughters. He had refused to accept money as compensation for the Tata project and was an active member of the movement," Manna said.

The dead farmer's father Mahadeb Das said: "He (Prasanta) said 'I will not live' after the land was acquired."

Earlier on March 13, farmer Haradhan Bag had committed suicide in Singur. Anti-Tata project activists had claimed that land loss was behind that death too.

Fresh tension is brewing at the site of the upcoming Tata Motors' small car unit in Singur. On May 20, hundreds of Singur Krishjami Raksha Committee members clashed with police who had to fire teargas shells and charge with batons to disperse the mob that seemed determined to reclaim their lands acquired for the project.


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