An Indian bishop is striving to counter the high suicide rate among impoverished farmers in his diocese.
“The Catholic mission Diocese of Amravati is one of the drought-hit areas where the farmers have been committing suicides,” Bishop Elias Gonsalves told AsiaNews. “In 2011, officially, 4,427 debt-burden farmers took their own life over the previous ten years. However, activists say that the reality is far worse and that the number of suicides is three times that number.”
“The diocese has been directly involved in reaching out to the farmers in distress, providing immediate relief for the victims of the farmers’ suicides, raising awareness among them regarding economical, sustainable and viable agricultural methods and also creating awareness among the marginal farmers about government schemes and entitlements,” he added.
Only 0.01% of the people in his diocese’s territory are Catholic.