NEW DELHI – Around 2,000 women, whose family members committed suicide in Punjab over the years due to farm related issues, joined the ongoing farmer protest at Delhi’s Tikri border on Wednesday.
Among them is Gurmeher Kaur (34), who had lost her husband Jugraj Singh at a young age in 2007 and has been living alone in the village since.
“He had 1.5 acres of land and was very stressed about financial problems and debt. When he died, I was very young with two children. I gave my younger son away to my sister as I couldn’t look after him, and my elder son lives with my parents in their village, 10 kilometres away. They are helping him study. After my husband’s death, I gave our land on lease for farming and have been doing daily wage labour, earning about Rs 1,800-2,000 a month. My older son is 18 now and when he finishes studying, he will take over the farming work,” Kaur was quoted by Indian Express as saying.
She said that she receives help from elder women in the village, like Baljeet Kaur (52), who lost her husband Gurcharan Singh in 1999. “We have three acres of land. We can get very little from this much land. He had a debt of Rs 5 lakh and he needed to get his younger sister married… When my children were young, I gave the land on lease, but now my younger son looks after the farming. We are here to join this protest because small farmers like us are the most vulnerable and will lose what little we have,” said the 52-year-old.
The women who joined the protest are mostly part of families of small farmers with limited landholdings, including four relatives of deceased farmers from Sangrur district’s Jakhpal village.