On Monday, four days after he immolated himself, a farmer from Medak district succumbed to his injuries.
Hailing from Etigadda-Kishtapur village in Medak district of Telangana, Nayini Karunakarâ€™s family thought he would survive the suicide bid.
For quite some time, Karunakar had been worried that the family would lose its land if the Mallana Sagar Project was implemented and attended all the village meetings. The project required about 22,000 acres.
Recalling the events of the day, Bharati said that Karunakar had returned home around 5.30 pm from a village meeting.
â€śHe looked very upset when he came home that day. I couldnâ€™t stand to see him so upset. I told him to not to worry about the project but he didnâ€™t listen. This led to an argument,â€ť 24-year-old wife Bharati said.
â€śThe fight became so big that no one ate that day except our two daughters. We all slept hungry that night. Around 10:30 pm we heard a noise and woke up. He was burning and there was a kerosene bottle lying on the floor. We were shocked that he tried to commit suicide,â€ť Bharati said. Karunakar and Bharati have two daughters Teja (7) and Kavya (4).
Besides the possibility that they might lose their land, Karunakar was also worried about repaying loans in a drought year, says his younger brother Bhaskar. For the past three years, Karunakarâ€™s family has been paying interest on a loan of Rs 2 lakh, besides attempting to repay a bank loan of around Rs 60,000.
He said that Karunakar and their 60-year-old father worked on their fields. But 2015-16 was harsh because of the drought. â€śThis year we incurred huge losses because of the drought. On Monday (the day Karunakar died) people who gave us loans came to ask us for the money. My father requested them for a few more monthsâ€™ time to repay the loan. We will sell some land.â€ť
According to Bhaskar, everyone in the village was worried that the project would gobble up their land.
â€śIf by any chance if this project becomes a reality, we will be on the streets. We will all lose our lands, houses and villages and become beggars. We are not against the government or the project. In fact, we all wish that our Telangana prosper. But the government should plan the project in such a way that no one is harmed,â€ť Bhaskar.
Karunakarâ€™s death has left Bhaskar shocked and suddenly faced with the responsibility of looking after the family. Bhaskar dreamed of joining the police force after completing his arts degree next year at Siddipet government college. â€śI come from a farming background. But after looking at the conditions of the farmers I donâ€™t want to take up farming in futureâ€™â€™, he adds.
Bhaskar hopes that the government looks after the family. â€śMy brother was the only earning member of the family. He always worried about his two young daughters very much. We thought he would survive the burns, but in the early hours of Monday, he left all of us.â€ť