On January 22, the 84-year-old farmer consumed a poisonous substance at Maharashtra secretariat, demanding adequate returns for his land.

Hours after the death of Dharma Patil, the 84-year-old farmer who consumed poison at the Maharashtra secretariat on January 22, the family members of the deceased refused to accept his body, till their demands are accepted by the state government.

Days back, the octogenarian farmer from Dhule district of Maharashtra consumed a poisonous substance at the state secretariat, demanding adequate compensation for his land acquired by the government for a solar power plant.

While the farmer died at the JJ Hospital in Mumbai on Saturday night, his son Narendra Patil on Sunday said, “I will not accept my father’s body until the state government accepts our demands. I am not going to accept my father’s body because we have been fighting against the injustice done to us.”

Earlier, the farmer’s kin claimed that Patil took the extreme step to end life after several failed attempts to get an appropriate return in exchange of his land. Last week, Patil’s son Narendra told reporters that the family was given only Rs 4 lakh compensation for their five acres of land.

Narendra further added that his father had been regularly visiting the state administrative headquarter for the last three months to complain against the low return for his land. Later even as the Maharashtra government offered an assistance of Rs 15 lakh to the farmer, his son refused to accept it.

“We were denied proper compensation by the state authorities for the land acquisition. Except us, everybody in our neighborhood whose land had been acquired was given higher compensation. Why was there such a disparity?” asked Narendra Patil.

Terming the issues as a serious matter, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan demanded a judicial probe into it.

“As per my information, some land agents are involved in such land acquisition deals and local revenue officials are also a part of the nexus. The farmers who agreed with such agents, received higher compensation,” said Chavan.

“Dharma Patil’s family had refused to be a part of such a nexus; hence they were given very low compensation. This is a serious matter and I demand a judicial inquiry in this case,” he added.

Leader of Opposition in the state Legislative Council, Dhananjay Munde earlier alleged that the “government did not feel like giving justice”, even after the farmer attempted to end his life. “Only this government is to be blamed for the farmer’s death,” said Munde.

According to Chavan, the government has first acquired lands for a thermal power plant, but its economics could not be worked out and the government later decided to construct a solar power plant in Dhule – for which they acquired Patil’s land.