High drama was witnessed at the rally of Aam Aadmi Party at Jantar Mantar as a man committed suicide by hanging himself by the tree few yards away from the stage where Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisiodia, ministers of Delhi cabinet along with other members of the AAP kept addressing the crowd.
The Aam Aadmi Party was holding its ‘kisan rally’ to protest against the Ordinance on Land Acquisition brought in by the Central government.
The man, believed to be in late 40s has been identified as Gajendra Singh Rajput, a resident of Dausa in Rajasthan. According to the eyewitnesses, Rajput had climbed on a tree around 1:30 pm in the afternoon. At first, many on-lookers and the participants in the rally thought he is trying to have a better view of AAP leaders on the stage. However, few minutes later he took a cloth he had wrapped around his shoulder and hung himself on the branch of a tree.
All this happened in full public view. At the venue that was packed with police personnel and AAP workers and volunteers, none were able to desist the man from attempting suicide. AAP leader Kumar Vishwas was on stage addressing the rally when the man committed suicide. He too reportedly made an appeal to the deceased to come down as his other colleagues, including Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal sat on the stage and looked on all what unfolded.
As the pandemonium grew bigger, some people climbed up the tree and took down the man who had been unconscious by then. He was rushed to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital where doctors tried to revive him.
The man was declared dead around 3:00 pm.
Doctors at the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital said that the man was “brought dead from the site of the rally”.
Reportedly, a suicide note has been discovered from his pocket, where he described himself a “son of the farmer”. “My crops have been destroyed and I am a father of 3 children” the note read as the deceased man appealed for the help.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in whose presence the man committed suicide, said “I am sad that he climbed the tree in front of us but nobody tried to stop him”.
Reactions of the political leaders followed soon after.
“I heard that the rally continued and no one tried to stop or save him. I don’t want to politicise this but it is sad that such an environment has been created in the nation. It is saddening” said Congress leader Sachin Pilot. Pilot is also a former MP from Dausa, hometown of the deceased too.
The ruling BJP too reacted and indirectly targeted the AAP leader. “Very painful to know that politics has become more important than human life” said BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra.
The incident has now snowballed into a major controversy with Delhi Chief Minister trading the charges over what his termed the police inaction. “I feel sad that before our eyes he climbed the tree. I kept telling the police to save him. The police are not in our control, but at least they are under god’s control,” said Arvind Kejriwal.
Taking their attack further on the police, AAP addressed the press blaming the police for all what transpired. However, some AAP leaders found an occasion of sarcasm over the tragic incident.
“From the next time we will ask the Delhi CM Kejriwal himself to climb up a tree and save the farmer. It is Kejriwal’s fault that he himself did not climb up the tree,” said AAP member Ashutosh.
But some in the party conceded that the situation could have been handled sensibly, especially as the deceased sat on the tree for some time. Patiala MP Dharamvir Gandhi said “humse halaat samajhne mein Galati hui. Haemin rally wahin rok deni chahiye thi. (We failed to assess the situation. We should have stopped the rally there and then.) ”.
The Union government has now constituted an investigation into the whole incident. Home Minister Rajnath Singh called up the Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi ordering the probe.
Joint Commissioner New Delhi Range will conduct an enquiry into the entire incident.