NHRC issues notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu over reported deaths of 106 farmers in one month (05.01.2017)


New Delhi, 5th January, 2017

The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports regarding the deaths of 106 farmers during a period of one month in Tamil Nadu which it considers as a matter of concern. It has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu calling a detailed report in the matter within six weeks. He has been asked to also inform about the steps taken or proposed to be taken by the State Government.

The Commission has observed that there is a need for sincere implementation of the laws and policies made for the farming sector especially, the small farmers. The farmers are required to be brought out of the agrarian crisis, which have been adversely affecting them since long. Failure of a crop not only affects the farmers, financially but also puts them under tremendous stress and mental agony. The entire family collapses when a farmer dies or commits suicide.

The Commission has also observed that despite of being the most crucial and significant section of the society, the farmers are feeling neglected by the policy makers. The issue is not only relating to their Right to Life and Dignity of the victims but also indicative of failure and inaction by the State agencies.

Reportedly, it has not rained and the level of the ground water has also shrunk at many places in the State. The water bodies are also drying. The poor farmers, who depend upon their crops, are the most vulnerable section of the society and they always become victims of various vagaries.

A Tamil daily reported on 03.01.2017 that 83 farmers died of heart attack. There have also been instances of suicides by farmers. One farmer, Panneerselvam, aged 53 years committed suicide in Nagapattinam district and another farmer Murugan @ Vijay Raghvan aged 50 years took the extreme step in Viluppuram district. The same newspaper reported on 05.01.2017 that the number of deaths has reached 106.

According to an English newspaper, four farmers died of Cardiac Arrest in the State on 03.01.2017. One of the victim, Murugaiyan, 70 years from Nagapattinam district collapsed at his farm and died. He had taken up direct sowing on his farm, which failed due to poor rain. The same happened with another farmer Laadan, who also died of Heart Attack. As per reports, the most affected districts are Thiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Viluppuram, Pudukottai, Ariyalur, Cuddalore and Thanjavur.