A farmer protesting near the Delhi-Haryana border died early this morning, allegedly because of the bitter cold. The man, a father of three, was found dead at a site where thousands of farmers have been protesting for 22 days against central farm laws.
The farmer had three children of ages 10, 12 and 14, according to reports that suggested he died of the freezing cold.
Reports of the death emerged hours after a Sikh priest died by suicide around 2 km from the epicenter of the protests at the Delhi-Haryana border. Baba Ram Singh, a priest from a Gurdwara in Haryana, had strongly supported the protests and left a note saying he was “angry and pained” at the government’s injustice.
More than 20 protesters have died since the agitation began in November-end, farmer groups claim. Many are believed to have suffered because of the rising winter chill and a cold wave in north India.
Many have been visiting the farmers, who have occupied various points on highways near Delhi, with blankets and heaters. Protesters are also seen lighting fires to keep warm, determined to stay for the long haul.
“We are fighting the cold weather and we will keep fighting the cold, till our demands are met. We will not budge even if it rains,” news agency ANI quoted a protester as saying at the Ghazipur-border area.
Temperatures have dipped to around five degrees or less in Delhi and its neighbourhood over the past few days. Day temperatures have also dropped more than four degrees below normal.