Bhubaneswar,12/03/19:National Human Rights Commission issued directiondt. 27.2.19 to Special Rapporteur Odisha for the detail enquiry and investigation into farmers’ suicide within six weeks. On 1.1.16, Sri PradipPradhan, Human Rights Activist and Advisor to NHRC has filed complaint alleging that 30 debt ridden farmers in 12 districts of Odisha committed suicide between 25.11.2015 and 10.12.2015 due to crop failure. In 2015, the Civil Society Groups of Odisha led by PradipPradhan along with 25 its members constituted Fact-finding team to make fact-finding visits to ascertain the facts about the genuineness of the alleged suicides, the reasons behind it and the socio-economic condition of the family of the famers who committed suicide vis-a-vis the support, if any provided by the Govt. etc. Each team consisting of 3 to 4 members made spot verification through visiting the families of the victim, interacting with family members, villagers, Village heads, PRI members, Govt Officials and other concerned. The Team also covered 13 districts and personally met 30 famers’ suicide families from 25th Nov. to 10th Dec. 15. The Team experienced precarious condition of the family, mental trauma suffered by the family members, failure of crop due to less rainfall, tension to repay the loan borrowed from private money lenders at exorbitant price ( 10% per month) etc. as recorded by the team, all the families vociferously said crop failure and loan burden as the major reason for suicidal death of the farmers. The details of the cases documented by the Team was sent to NHRC seeking an independent inquiry by NHRC and provide justice to the farmers.
Acting in complaint, NHRC had issued notice to Chief Secretary to conduct an inquiry and submit the report. The State Govt. took almost three years to present the report . 27.02.2018, the Commission had considered the report of Addl. Secretary, Department of Agriculture Farmer’s Empowerment Govt. of Odisha, wherein it is stated that as per joint enquiry report received, the death of 30 farmers are not due to crop failure but because of some other reasons and all the adequate measures were already taken for the welfare of farmers. Therefore Commission after considering the material placed on record had sent the copy of report to the complainant for comments, if any within four weeks. In response complainant vide communication dated 28.112.2018 informed the Commission that the report is faulty and fabricated. The State Govt. is trying to cover up the issue on flimsy grounds and in actual these 30 farmers have died due to bad economic condition. Therefore complainant requested for third party enquiry either by NHRC Team or special rapporteur. Acting on prayer of the complainant, the Commission has considered the material placed on record and directed to Special Rapporteur Odisha for the detail enquiry and investigation report in the matter within six weeks.
Contributed; Pradip Pradhan