Weeks after a Dalit farmer couple consumed poison during an anti-encroachment drive on their farmland in Guna, a woman farmer on Thursday attempted self-immolation after government staffers tried to build an approach road across her farmland in Dewas.
An administration team including government revenue staff, accompanied by policemen, reached the farmland with a JCB machine. When they started to destroy the soybean crop, the woman, Savra Bi, and her family protested. When the team did not heed their opposition, she doused herself with petrol and set herself on fire.
Locals rushed to save the woman from the flames. She was then taken to a local hospital before being taken to Indore, some 35 km from Dewas, with 20% burn injuries.
The woman's husband said that Savra Bi had set herself on fire when he went to meet the senior officer with his complaint over the making of the road.
Additional Superintendent of Police Jagdish Dawar said that some villagers had complained to the tehsildar about the approach road. The officer and his staff had reached the village to resolve the matter when the dispute broke out and the woman attempted self-immolation.
He also said that locals pelted stones at the officers. Revenue Inspector Rajesh Dhurve and patwari Dilip Jaat sustained injuries in the assault. "Those involved in the incident have been booked," Dawar said.
The Congress was quick to lash out at the Shivraj Singh-led government with several senior leaders tweeting about the incident.
PCC chief Kamal Nath wrote, “Man addresses himself as Mama and in his rule, standing crops were destroyed in the farm land in Dewas and a ‘sister’ had to immolate self.” Demanding a probe into the matter, he sought stringent action against those guilty and treatment assistance to the injured woman.