A recent incident of farmer suicide in the Kalamb Taluka of Osmanabad district of Maharashtra has exposed the extent of exploitation and humiliation a farmer has to face.
Sunil Mutkule, a 21-year-old farmer from Moha village in Kalamb Taluka had borrowed Rs 2,000 from Pappu Chandar Madake, a private money lender. Sunil is said to have paid Rs 22,000 as interest in one year but Madake allegedly kept threatening, abusing and demanding for money every month.
Sunil tried to raise this with the seniors in the village and also with the local panchayat, but everybody in the village were scared of Madake. Fed up with this torture and exploitation, he decided to leave his village and went to Pune in 2015.
Sunil started doing odd jobs in Pune and later got the job as a private security guard. This brought some relief into his life as he could earn a regular monthly income to support his family. But this was not to last long. He had to return to his village for some urgent family matter on August 5 and the money lender happened to see him.
Madake, along with his relatives Suresh Madake and Rohit Madake, caught Sunil and allegedly beat him up mercilessly with sticks and stones. He was also forced to drink water from an open drainage. This all happened in front of many villagers, but none of them dared to intervene and rescue him.
Hurt and humiliated, Sunil hanged himself from a tree on his farm which was 2kms away. Police found 17 injuries on his body.
After Sunil's suicide, people from villages nearby too started complaining of exploitation and physical torture at the hands of Madake. "There were more than hundred villagers present in the chowk when Sunil was beaten up. He could not even walk properly and was constantly crying when he went to the farm," said Bapu Zori, a social activist from Osmanabad. He added that there are more than 25 villagers who have left their village due to Madake's harassment. "Police had to register the case and arrest Pappu Madake but his accomplice is yet to get arrested," he said.
Osmanabad district tops the list of farmer suicides in Maharashtra and the latest incident shows the kind of exploitation that farmers in Marathwada face.