Actor Nana Patekar has warned of a possible Naxal movement if nothing is done to curb the increasing cases of suicides among farmers, even as he doled out lakhs of rupees to the families of those who ended their lives recently.
While agreeing to the fact that lack of rain has caused huge losses to the farmers in agricultural zones of Maharashtra and the government cannot be blamed for it, he urged the political parties to come together to counter the agrarian crisis.
"It hasn't rained so one can't blame the government. But BJP, Congress and NCP have to join hands for the sake of farmers," NDTV quoted Patekar as saying.
"There could be a farmers' revolution. If farmers can kill themselves, they could kill others too and if this thought of a 'revolution' persists, farmers could become Naxals," he added.
He urged the farmers to approach him in need instead of committing suicide, as killing oneself is no solution to the problems. "Committing suicide is no solution. I urge all farmers not do this," the actor told the audience at a hall in Latur where he doled out Rs 15,000 to each widow.
The 64-year-old has made it a mission of his life to help the suffering farmers and preventing them from committing suicide. He said he had seen enough and could not see more farmers taking their lives, so he decided to come out in their aid.
"I couldn't sit at home seeing farmers die... Imagine how it feels when over a 100 young widows are lined up, waiting for these cheques. I felt troubled. There is no bigger shame for them than this," he told NDTV.
Patekar came forward to help the farmers cope up with the agrarian crisis after being motivated by Marathi actor Makrand Anaspure. Although, his own past too forced him to join the noble cause that he has now taken to Maharashtra's agricultural zones, including Marathwada, Vidarbha and Latur.
"I too came from a poor background where I began working at the age of 13 and I ate just once a day... I understand their pain but I didn't commit suicide. I could never give up," Patekar said.
He has so far helped 300 families of farmers who committed suicide and has decided to provide financial aid to 700 more across Nagpur, Hingoli, Parbani, Nanded, Aurangabad, Usmanabad, Jalna, Bhusawal, Jalgaon and other places.
He called upon more people to come forward to help the farmers, one of the most valuable sections of the Indian society, saying the daily needs for human beings' survival--food, clothes, etc--depend on the farmers.
"People have to help farmers. I'm not appealing. I'm asking them - help farmers," Patekar said.
India has witnessed a steep rise in farmers' suicide of late. The present situation of the farmers is not to be blamed upon global warming alone, many farmers have taken their lives because of indebtedness.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), at least 3,146 farmers committed suicide in Maharashtra in 2013 alone, according to an article by P Sainath. Between 1995 and 2013, total 60,750 farmers have taken their lives in the state.
Whereas in 2014, at least 2,568 farmers were reported to have committed suicide in Maharashtra, the state recording highest number of suicide cases among farmers.