Farmers who die by suicide are cowards, says Karnataka minister, sparks row
Even as farmers in many parts of the country are mobilizing against new farm laws, Karnataka’s agriculture minister BC Patil sparked a new controversy by saying that farmers who die by suicide are cowards.
Patil made these comments when addressing Ponnampet farmers in Kodagu district about the benefits of growing bamboo.
“Farmers who commit suicide are cowards. Only a coward who cannot take care of his wife and children commits suicide. Once we are in the water, we have to swim and win, not die by suicide, ”said Patil.
The minister noted that despite the Mandya district having full irrigation facilities, there have been many suicide cases involving farmers unlike the drier and drought-prone Kolar district.
“Practice organic farming and you will get benefits. If it’s not Israel’s agriculture model, go the Kolar way. Don’t be cowards and die by suicide, ”he said.
Former prime minister and opposition leader Siddaramiah condemned Patil’s comments saying that people in positions of responsibility should not make irresponsible statements. The congressional party also attacked, saying that, as agriculture minister, Patil had not addressed farmers’ concerns.
“Do you have the moral right to call farmers cowards after failing to provide a single plan that illuminates their lives? Making such arrogant statements, he is not fit to be minister of agriculture. Quit immediately, ”the party tweeted.
The minister defended his statement saying that what he said has been taken out of context and that he wanted to ensure that farmers do not commit suicide. “I have not called farmers cowards. I have said that committing suicide is cowardice. Those who feed us should never commit suicide but rather have to overcome all challenges, is what I have said ”.