“It is not suicide, but a murder committed by the Congress government in the State,” said the farmers.

The farmers strongly condemned the government for delaying the much-awaited solution to their ongoing agitation in front of the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in the city since Monday.

Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha leader Muttappa Komar from Bagalkot said Mr. Vittal Arabhavi, who was under tremendous stress, sacrificed his life for the cause of fellow farmers.

Body taken to village

Farmers, angered by the suicide at the protest site in the afternoon, strongly condemned the attitude of the government for not handing over the body to them, to pay their last respects.

KRRS president Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, district president Basavaraj Mallali and other farmers’ leaders were waiting for the body to be handed over to them after the post-mortem.

Protests

But, Deputy Commissioner N. Jayaram and Superintendent of Police Chandragupta, who had initially agreed to hand over the body, transported it to Kankanwadi, the village of the deceased in Raibag taluk of Belgaum district in the evening, amid angry protests by farmers.

The authorities also declined the request of Raghavendra and Bhimappa, sons of the deceased farmer, to hand over the body to them. Both Raghavendra and Bhimappa stayed back at the protest site.

“Mr. Vittal Arabhavi was an active worker of the KRRS for the past 15 years, from the time of KRRS founder president late M.D. Nanjundswamy. He committed suicide during our ongoing protest; it is our duty to pay homage to a fellow worker. Since the police and the officials did not allow us to pay our respects, the police and officials can go ahead with the last rites. Also, none of us will attend the cremation,” the farmers’ leader said. However, the officials and police continued their efforts to persuade the sons to change their minds.

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