Confusion in Wake of Indian Farmer's Suicide at Rally
Supposed suicide note mentions poverty, but some say Gajendra Singh was egged on
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2015 12:23 PM CDT
Volunteers of the Aam Aadmi Party try to rescue Gajendra Singh, who hanged himself during a farmer’s rally in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, April 22, 2015.    (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
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(Newser) – A land-reform rally in India's capital went horribly awry yesterday when a farmer took his own life in front of attendees, the Independent reports. Gajendra Singh, said by the Hindustan Times to be a 43-year-old father of three, shocked onlookers at the Aam Aadmi Party gathering by climbing a tree and hanging himself—supposedly (according to some) to protest a lack of government compensation for farmers whose crops have been ruined by bad weather. Although the government has said it will help farmers adversely affected by recent heavy rains, protestors say payments haven't been arriving and blame Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being "anti-farmer," per the Independent; the paper adds that around 40 farmers have taken their lives over the past few weeks. Singh allegedly left a suicide note in which the Independent says he wrote, "I don't have the money to feed my children. Hence, I want to commit suicide."

However, there's lots of finger-pointing going on, with Singh's family blaming pols and the AAP for his death, the AAP blaming Delhi police, and the cops blaming the AAP. "I personally hold [Delhi chief minister] Arvind Kejriwal responsible," Singh's brother tells the Times of India; he also accuses another local politican for coaxing his brother to attend the rally. An AAP member at the protest tells the Independent, "The police were acting like mute spectators. We urged them several times to take action, but they did not pay any heed." Meanwhile, police contend AAP protestors obstructed cops from helping Singh and that they "instigated … Singh to commit suicide," per IBNLive. Adding to the confusion: Singh's sister tells News Nation that the suicide note wasn't in his handwriting, and a district leader tells ANI that crop destruction in Singh's area wasn't near levels that qualify for government compensation and that Singh himself was "financially sound."