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‘I should not have spoken’: Arvind Kejriwal apologises for farmer’s death at AAP rally

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Making a departure from the usual attitude of politicians in the country, Arvind Kejriwal today apologised for not stopping his speech at an event where farmer Gajendra Singh Rajput  killed himself.

Kejriwal also regretted his decision to make a speech after the gruesome incident took place.

In an interview to news agency ANI, the Delhi Chief Minister said, “I think I was wrong, I should not have spoken. I didn’t think of it at that time. I apologise if I hurt anyone.”

While the man tied a noose out of a white scarf and plunged off a branch, Arvind Kejriwal and other AAP leaders were seen taking the stage. Neither the Police nor the AAP volunteers were seen trying to stop the man from hanging himself.

Kejriwal later said that no one had expected the farmer to take such a drastic step.

The Delhi Police, however, filed an FIR against the Aam Aadmi Party stating that party workers didn’t cooperate in saving the man and even clapped and cheered, which instigated the farmer.

Defending the party, Kejriwal said, “No AAP leader made any announcement from the stage because that would have led to chaos.” At the same time, Kejriwal made a speech in which he blamed the Delhi police for acting like mute spectators.

Kejriwal also admonished the ‘hoopla’ created over the incident, saying that the media and the politicians should focus on the main issue of farmer suicides.

Meanwhile, the BJP dismissed the apology saying, “He should reflect on that day. We don’t accept the apology. He is trying to justify himself.”

The family of the 42 year-old farmer, Gajendra Singh also rejected the Chief Minister’s apology saying it was “too little, too late”.

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The Farmer’s Protest In Delhi Makes The Indian Police Take Severe Steps

The government has allowed police to “brutally beat up” the farmers, said the opposition Congress party.

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Farmer protests
Police use water cannons to disperse farmers during a protest demanding better price for their produce on the outskirts of New Delhi, India. VOA

Indian police on Tuesday fired tear gas and water cannons to halt and scatter a march by thousands of protesting farmers heading for the capital New Delhi to demand better prices for their produce.

Reeling from a crash in commodity prices, more than 50,000 farmers from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, a top producer of wheat and cane, blocked part of the main highway to the capital.

They also sought loan waivers, cheaper power and tougher action to get sugar mills to pay dues owed for their cane, as discontent in rural areas turns to anger against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who faces tough general elections next year.

“Despite our repeated requests, the government has failed to help farmers in any meaningful ways,” a farm leader, Dharmendra Malik, told Reuters by telephone from the protest site.

farmers
Police try to stop farmers during a protest demanding a better price for their produce on the outskirts of New Delhi, India. VOA

“Left with no choice, we’ve decided to march to Delhi to highlight our plight.”

Cash-strapped sugar companies owe cane growers about 135 billion rupees ($1.9 billion) in the current season. Saddled with huge piles of sugar and hit by a fall in prices, mills have said they are unable to pay farmers on time.

“The state government has initiated a number of steps to help farmers, including a clutch of measures to expedite cane payments to growers,” Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath told video news agency ANI, a Reuters affiliate.

Mills are struggling to export sugar because of lower global prices, Adityanath said.

Television broadcast images of angry farmers clashing with police and driving their tractors into security barriers, in a protest that disrupted rush-hour traffic.

Farmers
Rural areas turns to anger against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. VOA

Some farmers were injured when police fired tear gas and water cannon to keep protesters from breaking through barricades to reach New Delhi, the site of events to mark the birth anniversary of India’s apostle of non violence, Mahatma Gandhi.

“It’s ironical that the farmers were brutally beaten on the day of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary,” opposition leader Rahul Gandhi said.

Farmers had started trickling into the city late on Monday, prompting authorities to bar gatherings of more than four people.

The government has allowed police to “brutally beat up” the farmers, said the opposition Congress party, which ruled India for most of its 70 years since independence from Britain, before losing power to Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.

Also Read: Asian Farms Tackle Drug Resistance with Apps and Dictionary

“Can India’s farmers not come and tell their own government that they are in deep pain?” asked Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala.

Modi’s rural woes have been worsened by a failure to deliver on a promise of tens of millions of jobs for young people that helped him win the largest mandate in three decades in 2014. (VOA)