As many as 25,000 farmers from Mathura in Uttar Pradesh want to commit suicide on 15 August, the 69th Independence Day, for failing to get compensation from the government for losing their land to the construction of the Gokul Barrage.
The Mathura farmers have written to the President, seeking his permission to commit suicide by hanging themselves for not receiving any compensation despite protesting for 17 years, The Times of India reported.
The farmers are supposed to receive about Rs 800 crore from the government for taking away 700 acres of their land without consent for building the Gokul Barrage, the report said.
Many of the farmers' protests, which were also backed by RSS off-shoot Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, were met with harsh police action, with the police even opening fire at them last year.
While they never received the compensation for losing their land, the Mathura farmers had to also face losses from crop damage this year due to unseasonal rains, leading to more than 40 farmers committing suicide in the beginning of the year in the Uttar Pradesh district.
Adding to this, the compensation cheques issued by the Uttar Pradesh government to those who faced losses from crop damage bounced, Rediff.com had reported.
The decision of the farmers to take the extreme step comes just months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a BJP rally in Mathura in May, in which he promised electricity, water and "soil health cards" to farmers.
The 25,000 farmers, who hail from 11 different villages in Mathura, sent the letter to President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday, stating that "despite several assurances and the matter being raked up in Parliament, the state government continues to turn a blind eye to the sufferings of the farmers".
It is now left to see if the Akhilesh Yadav government responds to the farmers and if Mathura MP Hema Malini also takes up the cause.