Spooky ghosts have been forcing farmers to end it all, said the Home Minister of Madhya Pradesh, a state in central India.
Three of the 418 farmers who committed suicide in Madhya Pradesh’s Sehore in the last three years took the extreme step because they were “under the influence of ghosts and spirits”, according to the state government.
State home minister Bupendra Singh said this on Wednesday, in a written reply to a question raised by Congress MLA Shailendra Patel in the assembly. He made it clear, however, that this was based on the accounts of the family members.
He went on to add that no farmer had committed suicide because of financial hardship.
Singh’s reply prompted Patel to ask if the state government believed in the existence of ghosts, ringing in peals of laughter.
Congress had asked for the exact number of farmer suicides in Sehore between January 1, 2014 to June 30, 2016.
During the Question Hour on Wednesday, Patel told the Speaker about the home department’s response, leaving the ruling party red-faced.
Singh explained to the House, “There have been a total 418 suicides in Sehore over the past three years. In reply to the legislator’s question, we have provided the number with details of victims and the reason quoted by family members for the suicide. Alongside every victim’s name, we have mentioned only whatever the family has said.”
Senior BJP MLA Babulal Gaur – who had to resign as MP’s Home Minister in the recent reshuffle — took the opportunity to take a dig at the government, saying now it was going to set up a Happiness Department.
Sehore is the home district of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who had recently talked of creating a happiness ministry.
After the session, Patel told PTI that ‘ghost’ response was “laughable”, and that the reply does not mention reasons in 117 cases of farmer suicides in the district. He alleged that the government didn’t record suicides due to the financial hardship.
“Family members of the farmer Hariom Parmar, who was my acquaintance, and who committed suicide told me that he took the extreme step due to the financial distress after a crop failure,” the MLA claimed, adding that there were at least ten cases of suicide due to the indebtedness and crop failure.