Haryana Agriculture Minister OP Dhankar on Wednesday defended his statement on farmer suicides and claimed that Haryana was a “veer bhoomi” and farmers in Haryana did not commit suicide, even as data from the National Crime Records Bureau showed that in 2013, 374 farmer suicides took place in Haryana.

According to the NCRB data, as many as 384 farmers had committed suicide in 2011.

Haryana Agriculture Minister OP Dhankar. Image Courtesy: Twitter/ANI

Haryana Agriculture Minister OP Dhankar. Image Courtesy: Twitter/ANI

“Haryana veeron ki bhumi hai. Haryana ki bhumi atmahatya karne walon ko sweekar nahi karti (Haryana is the land of the brave. Haryana’s land does not accept those who commit suicide),” Dhankar said.

“The farmer is the ‘baap‘ of the soldier,” said the Haryana minister. “People in Haryana don’t commit suicide. The state govt does not stand by farmers committing suicide.”

He also criticised the media for allegedly giving out a partial report on his statement. “Don’t partially report any issue. Don’t ‘cut and paste’ sound bytes,” he said.

Dhankar also said that some people in the country were trying to create a “pro-murder atmosphere”. “Some people are engaging in motivated murder,” he said.

When asked by a reporter on what he meant by “motivated murder”, Dhankar said, “I was talking about the death of the farmer in Delhi. The kind of ‘naatak‘ on Gajendra Singh’s death in Delhi should not happen.”

The Haryana Agriculture Minister also said that the state government was committed to working for farmers. “I have gone to all states where farmers have committed suicide,” he said. “Analyse every state. Haryana government is giving best provisions to farmers,” he added.

Saying that the BJP government in Haryana provided Rs 2,000 crore aid to the farmers, Dhankar said, “When the farmers’ produce went bad, Haryana government cancelled the electricity bill of farmers for the next year…Haryana govt cancelled the loans of farmers for the next three years.”

He also said the Haryana government was even buying the produce of the farmers.

Dhankar had sparked controversy when he had earlier on Wednesday said that farmers who commit suicide are cowards and hence not worthy of government aid.

“Suicide is a crime as per Indian laws,” Dhankar had said, adding that government could not support farmers who commit suicide as they were criminals under the law.

Ironically, Dhankar, who had earlier headed the BJP’s Kisan Cell, had in the past criticised the previous UPA government for not doing enough for farmers, saying this had resulted in an increasing in suicides.

This is not the first time that P Dhankar has made a controversial statement. In a speech ahead of the assembly polls last year, Dhankar had promised the youth that he will bring brides from Bihar for them if they are unable to find a match in a state infamous for its skewed sex ratio.

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Haryana is land of the brave, people here don’t commit suicide, says Minister Dhankar