A debt-hit farmer climbed a cell phone tower in front of the Telangana assembly in Hyderabad on Tuesday threatening to jump down even as the legislature discussed the issue of farmers' suicides. He came down after a nearly two-hour-long drama.
The farmer from Warangal district climbed the cell phone tower across the road from the assembly building in the heart of the city, causing a flutter in the high security zone. He also carried a bottle of pesticides with him.
Senior police officials rushed to the scene and tried to persuade Samaiah to get down. After the successful talks, he finally relented.
Samaiah said he had raised Rs.2 lakh loans from banks but was unable to repay the same due to crop failure. He came to assembly to meet ministers to seek help. He said he was dejected when he was not allowed to meet any minister.
Claiming that he wrote 150 songs for a separate Telangana state, the farmer said he had hoped justice will be done in the separate state. A few minutes before the assembly adjourned for the day after a heated debate on the issue of farmers' suicides, Samaiah took everyone by surprise by climbing up the cell phone tower.
Two farmers have ended their lives in Hyderabad this month, bringing into focus the plight of farming community in Telangana, the state with second highest farmer suicide deaths after Maharashtra
Mallesh, a 58-year-old farmer from Medak district, had committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree at Balamrai in Begumpet on September 20.
Earlier on September 9, B. Limbiah, 47, of Nizamabad district hanged himself from a pole in Lower Tank Bund area. His son was admitted to a private hospital in Hyderabad and he had no money to pay for his treatment.
Meanwhile, suicides continued unabated in the newly-created state with three more farmers ending their lives on Tuesday in Ranga Reddy district, near here. They included a couple. All the three consumed pesticides in their fields due to mounting debts and crop failure because of poor rainfall this monsoon.
The state government has put at 430 the number of famers who committed suicides since June 2014, when the new state came into existence.
The opposition parties, however, claim that 1,400 famers ended their lives during the period.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 898 farmers committed suicides in Telangana during 2014. It was the second highest number in the country after Maharashtra, which reported 2,568 farmer suicide deaths.