A farmer, also a mother of five children, committed suicide by setting herself on fire last Saturday in Maharashtra's Marathwada region after failing to feed her family, according to reports.
The 40-year-old woman, Manisha Gatkal, was forced to take the drastic step as they were left with nothing at all – no food and no means to earn their livelihood. A resident of Marathwada's Osmanabad district, Manisha committed suicide when her husband was not at home.
"We are really very poor. There was no food. I had no work... When I got some work I went out. She latched the door and killed herself," NDTV quoted her husband Laxman Gatkal as saying.
The Gatkal family is reported to be in a state of extreme poverty, as they could not even afford to take a loan. Manisha had seven mouths to feed, including hers, and the ration that the family got was insufficient, claims Sambhaji, Gatkals' relative.
"Ration is just too little – 18 kg of wheat and 12 kg of rice. That's not enough for seven people. Just lasts 12 days," Sambhaji said.
The villagers claim that there is no work even under employment guarantee schemes and if there was one, Manisha would not have taken such a drastic step.
"Had he got work under NREGA, they would have had money and she wouldn't have committed suicide," Laxman's brother Balasahab said.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics, Maharashtra is the worst affected states in India in terms of agrarian crisis. The farmers in the agricultural zones of Maharashtra are taking their lives because of poor farming output, debt and poverty.
The NCRB statistics suggest that at least 3,146 farmers committed suicide in 2013 in Maharashtra alone, while at least 2,568 of them killed themselves in 2014. So far in 2015, at least 628 cases of farmers suicide have been reported from drought-affected Marathwada region alone.
In total, at least 60,750 farmers have committed suicide in Maharashtra between 1995 and 2013.