Chennai: A young farmer in Tamil Nadu committed suicide after officials of a private finance firm seized his tractor to recover Rs 2 lakh dues and allegedly insulted and abused him.
The incident that came to light on Saturday, days after a farmer was beaten up by police in the state over non-payment of loan.
Arumugam (26) of Orathur had taken a Rs 7 lakh loan from the firm to purchase a tractor and had repaid Rs five lakh and the balance was pending, police said.
Firm officials came to his house on 10 March and allegedly abused and insulted him in front of villagers, besides seizing his tractor, they said.
Some unidentified persons later attacked Arumugam, police added.
Ashamed and frustrated at the treatment meted out to him, he consumed poison and fell unconscious. He was rushed to a Primary Health Centre at Keezhapavur by his relatives, where he died without responding to treatment around midnight, Police said.
Police said action would be taken against those involved.
The incident came close on heels of the alleged assault of another farmer, Balan, of Thanjavur district by police over non-payment of loans worth Rs 3.8 lakh.
A video of the incident had gone viral following which NHRC had issued notices to the Chief Secretary and DGP, Government of Tamil Nadu, seeking reports within two weeks on the matter.
DMK President M Karunanidhi alleged that the farmers were facing many difficulties during the AIADMK rule and said the government had not heeded to their demands on many issues despite their staging a number of protests.
Karunanidhi said there was a spike in instances of farmers committing suicide over loan repayment issues and urged them not to resort to such extreme steps.
With elections scheduled in another two months (on 16 May), a new government will come in place which will redress farmers' grievances, he said in a statement.
"Elections are scheduled in two months. Be hopeful. A government that will protect farmers' interest will come. Then all your problems will end," he said.
PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss expressed 'shock' and 'grief' over the two incidents and said that musclemen being used by credit companies to confiscate property like tractor was not new in Tamil Nadu.
He said severe drought situation in many parts of the state had affected farming, due to which farmers could not repay loan dues.
He said that both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana had implemented loan-waiver schemes, which he said had resulted in a dip in farmers' suicides in those states.
Referring to his party's assurance of waiving farm loans if voted to power, he assured it will certainly be implemented if PMK was elected.
MDMK founder Vaiko charged the AIADMK government with not addressing farmers' issues including that of fixing fair prices for paddy and sugarcane.