Sonepat: The 45-year-old farmer who allegedly committed suicide at the Singhu border between Delhi and Haryana Wednesday is believed to have been planning to return home the same day.
Farmers who interacted with Gurpreet Singh at the border — one of the protest sites where farmers have been gathered for a year in their agitation against three new farm laws brought last year — said he wanted to attend his niece’s wedding at Roorkee village in Punjab’s Fatehgarh Sahib.
The farmers said Gurpreet had been a part of the protest at Singhu since last year.
On the night before he allegedly ended his life, he consumed alcohol, said a fellow protester. Others claimed he was upset about the absence of any resolution to the farmers’ protest, about the government’s response to the agitation, as also the incident at Lakhimpur Kheri, where a Union minister’s convoy allegedly ran over agitating farmers last month.
Gurpreet Singh, a member of the Bharatiya Kisan Union’s (BKU’s) Sidhupur faction, was found hanging from a tree at the border Wednesday morning. His autopsy report is awaited.
News agency ANI quoted Kundali police station investigating officer Pradeep Kumar as saying that the “reason of death is not known, but we’ve been told that he was mentally disturbed”.
ThePrint reached Sonepat Superintendent of Police Rahul Sharma via calls but there was no response until the time of publishing this report.
This is not the first time protesters involved in the ongoing agitation have allegedly died by suicide. There have been multiple instances over the past year.
‘Didn’t talk about suicide’
Nehattar Singh, a farmer who said he and Gurpreet Singh had joined the agitation together and often shared a tent, said he frequently discussed the “farmers’ movement and how the government is not doing anything”.
“Ki banu kisaani da, saal ho gaya baithe hue (what will become of farming? It has been a year since the protest began),” Nehattar quoted Singh as having said.
Nehattar Singh said Gurpreet was from his neighboring village. “We have been sitting here for the past one year, and used to go back to our village in between. Gurpreet had come here two days ago,” he added.
He then said Gurpreet Singh’s family, who took his body for cremation Wednesday, stated that “he was supposed to come back home on 10 November as there was a wedding in the house”.
“His brother’s daughter was getting married,” he said.
Nahar Singh, 70, another farmer whose tent was close to Gurpreet Singh’s, echoed the claim. “He was talking about going home for his niece’s wedding. He also drank last night, and the night before that,” he added.
Some farmers at the Singhu border told ThePrint that they woke up at 4 am to take a bath, but only noticed the body at 6 am, when dawn broke.
According to those living with him, Gurpreet Singh never mentioned any family dispute, as they sought to understand the potential trigger.
They said he has an 18-year-old son who is pursuing BCom at Desh Bhagat University at Fatehgarh Sahib. He is not believed to have been under financial pressure either.
“He looked fine, did not look like someone who had any mental health problems. The last time we talked, we spoke normally, as if there was no issue,” said Nahar Singh.
Abhimanyu Kohad of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, the umbrella body of farmers organisations leading the agitation, said Gurpreet Singh used to talk about Lakhimpur Kheri and “other such incidents of violence against the farmers”.
“He talked about how bad the government is,” he added.
BKU Sidhupur chief Jagjit Singh Dallewal said everyone in the organisation is “very upset and angry about the incident”. “Any incident like this angers fellow protesters. He had specially told his co-protesters that he was distressed because of the government. He had not spoken about taking any extreme step though,” he said.
(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)