Friday 24 April 2009

1500 farmers commit mass suicide

Over 1,500 farmers in an Indian state committed suicide after being driven to debt by crop failure, it was reported today.

The agricultural state of Chattisgarh was hit by falling water levels.

"The water level has gone down below 250 feet here. It used to be at 40 feet a few years ago," Shatrughan Sahu, a villager in one of the districts, told Down To Earth magazine

"Most of the farmers here are indebted and only God can save the ones who do not have a bore well."

Mr Sahu lives in a district that recorded 206 farmer suicides last year. Police records for the district add that many deaths occur due to debt and economic distress.

In another village nearby, Beturam Sahu, who owned two acres of land was among those who committed suicide. His crop is yet to be harvested, but his son Lakhnu left to take up a job as a manual labourer.

His family must repay a debt of £400 and the crop this year is poor.

"The crop is so bad this year that we will not even be able to save any seeds," said Lakhnu's friend Santosh. "There were no rains at all."

Allah says "No weariness nor illness nor sorrow nor sadness nor hurt nor distress befalls a Muslim, even to the pricking of a thorn, without Allah's expiating some of his sins by it."

Thabit Ibn Ad-Dahhaak quoted the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, as saying:

“Whoever intentionally swears falsely by a religion other than Islam, then he is what he has said (e.g. if he says, 'If such thing is not true then I am a Jew,' he is really a Jew). And whoever commits suicide with piece of iron will be punished with the same piece of iron in the Hell-Fire.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, is also reported to have said: "A man was inflicted with wounds and he committed suicide, and so Allah said: My slave has caused death on himself hurriedly, so I forbid Paradise for him.”

We Muslims believe that all our suffering, failures and adversities are nothing but a test from Allah, who has said, “And surely We shall try you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives and crops; but give glad tidings to the steadfast, who say, when a misfortune striketh them: Lo! To Allah we belong and unto Him we are returning.” (Al-Baqarah: 155-56)”

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