Farmers agree to cremate body

Siddaraju had taken a tractor loan from ICICI bank

Unable to pay instalments, he committed suicide

CHAMARAJANAGAR: The body of Siddaraju, a farmer who committed suicide, was cremated on Saturday, four days after his death, following an assurance from Deputy Commissioner Vishwanatha Reddy that an inquiry had been instituted into the allegations against ICICI Bank.

The people of Harave village, led by activists of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and Hasiru Sene, had refused to cremate the body till action was taken against the bank. Siddaraju committed suicide after he was allegedly pressured to pay instalments of the loan taken from the bank to buy a tractor.

Security strengthened

Earlier in the day, when the farmers threatened to intensify their agitation to put a pressure on the district administration to bring ICICI Bank officials to the spot, more police personnel were rushed to the village from throughout the district to maintain law and order.

The leaders of the farmers demanded that Assistant Commissioner Sathyabhama help them shift the body to the office of the bank in Mysore. She said that the Deputy Commissioner had already ordered an inquiry and stringent action would be initiated against the bank if any norms had been violated.

The farmers then agreed to cremate the body for certain conditions were met. They said the compensation given by the Government should be deposited in the names of Siddaraju’s two children. A nine-member committee would be formed to decide on the future course of action. The bank authorities should waive the loan taken by Siddaraju and return all documents to his family.

KRRS district unit president Mahesh Prabhu said the agitation against the bank would continue. A meeting would be held in Tumkur and Davangere to discuss the issue. A Statewide agitation would be launched to close down ICICI Bank branches in the State.

‘Book case’

He also urged the police to book a criminal case against bank officials.

The farmers also demanded that the Deputy Commissioner, the Superintendent of Police and the local MP come to the spot to give a written assurance that their demands would be conceded.

Deputy Commissioner Vishwantha Reddy, who came to Harave around 5.30 p.m., said a committee had been formed to inquire into the bank’s tractor loan scheme. Efforts would be made to get compensation for Siddaraju’s family from the bank.