Nagpur (Maharashtra), Aug 11 (IANS) Concerned by the second suicide of a girl to save her debt-hit farmer father, a government-appointed panel here on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to launch a ‘Kisan Beti Bachao’ movement on the lines of the ‘Beti Bachao’ initiative.
The Vasantrao Naik Shetkari Swavalambi Mission (VNSS) Chairman Kishore Tiwari in a statement on August 8 said a minor girl committed suicide in Parbhani, preceded by a Latur girl ending her life on April 14, sending shockwaves in farmlands across the state.
While Sarika S. Zute, 17, hanged herself at her home a day after Raksha Bandhan, 21-year old Shital V. Vayal jumped into a well — ironically the very same day when Modi honoured another Latur girl with a Rs 1 crore prize for a digital transaction at a function in Nagpur.
Both the girls belonging to the politically powerful Maratha community in Maharashtra, were worried about their marital prospects as their fathers were burdened with existing debts.
They said they took the extreme step as they did not want their parents to suffer further loans.
Earlier in January 2016, Mohini Bhise, 18, also from Latur, hanged herself as her farmer father could not collect dowry for her marriage, and boldly questioned the menace prevalent in her community despite a ban.
All the three girls hailed from poor farmers’ families but were educated and left behind suicide notes explaining the reasons behind their painful decisions to end life at such a young age.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Tiwari urged him to start a ‘Kisan Beti Bachao’ campaign as there are repeated incidents of farmers’ daughters committing suicide to save their debt-burdened fathers, an indicator of the continuing distress in farmlands across the state.
He said the VNSS had taken “a very serious note” that despite so many deaths — four in a week in Parbhani district — not a single official from the collectorate, agriculture department or the banks have bothered to visit or enquire about the plight of the people where a drought looms overhead due to failed monsoon there.
Tiwari, who plans to visit the Zute family shortly, said monsoon had completely bypassed Parbhani this year and the critical situation could worsen in farmlands if priority measures were not initiated by the concerned departments.