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While during the demonetisation phase there were several casualties in various parts of the country, after the GST implementation, the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand also witnessed a horrifying and anguishing incident of a sad demise of a trader namely Prakash Pandey in the Janata Durbar of the Uttarakhand’s agriculture minister Subodh Uniyal in protest against the implementation of the GST and its subsequent repurcussions , implications and negative fall outs by consuming suicide in the public. This is the first incident in the history of the 17 year old incident when any individual has committed suicide in a Janata Durbar of a monister in his very presence.

The victim was addmitted in the private Doon hospital but unfortunately could not be saved due to various reasons, may be because of being inordinately late in taking him to the hospital or due to the negligence of the hospital staff in not giving him proper, adequate and timely emergency treatment.

This most tragic news of suicide by Pandey in public has spread like a wild fire in entire Uttarakhand, particularly in front of a responsible cabinet minister of the ruling party of the state. The questions being asked are: Why was the victim not taken to the hospital in time despite having consumed poision publicly and how come that the so called high profile private hospital not able to deliver adequate treatment to Pandey to save his precious life and what were the onlookers doing who preferred to take his picture and make vedios than to save his precious life.

The questions are infact genuine, transpatent and require adquate answers. Just imagine what would be the condition of the the most aggrieved parents of the deceased who’d lost their young son hardly below forty ? Now, the whole issue seems to have been embroiled in politics giving it a political colour to derive political advantage from this episode. It may be recalled that the Uttarakhand cabinet minister was holding his Janata Durbar as a routine practice hearing peoples’ grievances.

Meanwhile the state’s main opposition party Congress is trying to exploit the situation to its advantage while the ruling BJP government has taken a defensive posture. However, the news and political analysts say that though the demise of Pandey against GST’s aftermath implications, repurcussions and negative fall outs for small and medium traders and Pandey himself being its supposed victim, has sadly led to his tragic death through suicide but the state agriculture minister Subodh Uniyal is in no way responsible directly or indirectly for this tragedy and GST implementation is a central subject, directly under the jurisdiction of Union Finance minister and ministry. Moreover no right thinking person would ever support or subscribe to an act of poision consuming or suicide usually considered to be an act of cowardice as written in one of the facebook posts by an enlightened writer of eminence.

Conclusively, while everyone in Uttarakhand has fullest sympathy with the family of the deceased all are equally perturbed over this act of suicide and the negligent and complacent attitude of the onlookers and the hospital authorities who have not taken enough pain to save the life of the young trader Pandey, who otherwise have been in our midst. Our heartfelt tributes to the departed soul and condolences to the bereaved family.

Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Journalists Forum and Uttarakhand Third Front expreses its deepest anguish over this sad incident and demands an impartial enquiry into the entire episode by the honble retired high court judge to nail the culprits responsible for Pandey’s death for negligence in his treatment and adequate financial compensation to his wife with a job to his son or daughter in the state government.

It may be recalled that the main opposition party of the cpunyry and its leader Rahul Gandhi have been ising the issues of demonetisation and GST in his campaigning in the preceding elections in all the states including Gujarat but could not succeed as BJP under the leadership of Narendra Modi have been on the winning spree since 2014 after cpming to power at the centre.The tragic incident of Prakash Pandey however has given the Congress party a powerful anti government propaganda tool in Uttarakhand which was till now in the defensive as the BJP in the Himalayan state in in absolute majority with no risk of any kind of instability.
SUNIL NEGI