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Farmers’ plight being ignored: Patil

Special Correspondent

— Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Small talk: (From right) Leaders of the Opposition in the Council and Assembly H.K. Patil and N. Dharam Singh, Human Rights Commission Chairman S.R. Nayak and Doordarshan Kendra Director Mahesh Joshi at the World Press Day celebrations in Bangalore on Friday.

Bangalore: Human rights commissions should put flagrant rights violations such as large-scale displacement of people and suicide by farmers on top of their agenda, Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council H.K. Patil has said.

Delivering the inaugural address at the World Press Day celebrations organised by the United News of India employees’ union, Mr. Patil said suicide by farmers had touched alarming proportions in the State. “There is a farmers suicide every third day in our State. It is a paradox that more than 1,12,000 farmers suicides have taken place in the country between 1997 and 2003, which equals the total runs scored in one day cricket matches by Indian players,” he said.

But there was a cold response to these suicides by all responsible players in our democratic set-up, Mr. Patil said.

The media, which gives wide coverage to terrorist attacks and accidents, dismisses farmers suicides in a few lines, he observed. The monopoly of multinational seed companies, cut in subsidies to farmers because of international pressure and other factors were pushing farmers into a debt trap and subsequently to migration or suicide, he said.

Large-scale migration of farmers and agricultural labourers and the inhuman conditions in which they live in urban slums were not paid attention to, Mr. Patil said. The loss of food security, shelter, educational opportunities and the emotional connect with one’s land caused by migration were rarely even classified as human rights violations, he said.

Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly N. Dharam Singh, Karnataka State Human Rights Commission chairperson S.R. Nayak and others participated in the function.

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