NEW DELHI: Breaking his silence over Gajendra Singh's suicide at the Aam Aadmi Party anti-Land Bill rally, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal finally acknowledged that he had made a mistake by continuing to speak at his party's 'Kisan Rally' but defended himself saying he could not see what was happening.
"Two days ago, during the Aam Aadmi Party's 'Kisan Rally' at Jantar Mantar, a farmer committed suicide. It was a very painful event and personally for me it was more painful as I have not experienced anything like this ever before in my life. When his body was brought down, we got to know he was still alive and he was rushed to the hospital by Aam Aadmi Party volunteers. After that I started to give my speech and said 'I don't feel like talking'," Kejriwal told ANI.
"I was supposed to speak for an hour, but somehow tried to wrap it up in 15-20 minutes. I think, yes, this was my mistake. Maybe I should not have spoken at that time. But, I could not make it out at that time. I apologise if anyone's sentiments have been hurt by it," he added.
Defending himself, Kejriwal told CNN-IBN: 'The tree was at a distance from the stage. What was happening near the tree wasn't visible from the stage. We could not make an announcement otherwise everyone would have rushed towards that side. Below the tree were some guest teachers and AAP volunteers who saw what was happening. But no one thought that anyone could have committed suicide.'
Kejriwal further said that the debates surrounding the issue over the past two days have not helped solve the issues of the farmer.
"Whatever is going on from last two-three days is not correct. The police and the magistrate are conducting their respective enquiries. Whoever is the culprit should be punished. Punish them, but bring back the focus of debate to the fact that farmers of the country are committing suicide," he said.
On Thursday, Delhi police accused AAP members of obstructing efforts to save Gajendara Singh who committed suicide at the party rally.
In their first information report in the case, Delhi Police accused the Aam Aadmi Party and its leaders of obstructing efforts to save the farmer.
The FIR said AAP workers and leaders did not pay heed to requests made by police to allow emergency vehicles and the fire brigade to move in.
The FIR was registered under sections dealing with abetment to suicide and obstructing public servant in discharge of public duty.
It said police asked AAP workers not to "instigate" Gajendra Singh but they continued to "incite" the farmer by clapping.
The issue turned into a slanging match between the AAP and the central government, and caused ripples in parliament, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a collective resolve to end farmer suicides.
Members of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha expressed pain and anguish over Rajasthan's Gajendra Singh committing suicide by hanging himself from a tree at an Aam Aadmi Party rally at Jantar Mantar in the capital on Wednesday.
Gajendra Singh had committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree during an Aam Aadmi Party rally against the Land Acquisition Bill in New Delhi.
As per reports, a suicide note was found that revealed the farmer, who had three children, was banished from his house after his crop was damaged. He took the extreme step because he had no means of support his family. (Agencies)