Tamil Nadu farmers had suspended their agitation on April 23 on the contention that the Centre meets their demand within a month.
“If our demands are not met, we will start our protest again after May 25…” farmers’ leader Ayyakkannu was quoted as saying.
Nearly three months later, they are back with the same demands – a central drought relief fund, pension for old farmers, setting up of Cauvery Management Board, crop insurance for individual farmers and profitable prices for agricultural produce.
Tamil Nadu farmers face a severe drought condition in their home state of Tamil Nadu, coupled with this, is the mounting debt and poverty.
When their former protest began on March 14, they grabbed national attention through innovative, and often shocking, forms of agitations. They sat holding human skulls of their kin that they claimed were of farmers who had committed suicide earlier, ate mice, shaved their heads, conducted mock funerals, marched naked outside the Prime Minister’s office and even drank their urine in a bid to protest over drought relief and loan waivers from Centre.
At least 100 farmers are back in the capital city for a second protest stint. But this time, they have the support of the All India Kisan Sangarsh (AIKS) – the face of which is VM Singh, a Hindi-speaking farmer from Uttar Pradesh, reported The Indian Express.
They began with a dramatic 24 hours since getting off a train at the New Delhi Railway station. Around 70 farmers were detained at Parliament Street police station when they tried to stage a demonstration outside the PM’s residence on Lok Kalyan Marg. “We were not given food or water,” said K Ramasamy, a farmer.
“Our demands were not met as promised by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan. So we have decided to resume our protest for another 100 days,” P Ayyakannu said, as reported by The Hindu. He added that even the rain or the sun will not stop their agitation.
By the time the farmers had left Delhi mid-April after being assured that their demands will be met, they had made new friends. Two trips to Delhi since then, Ayyakannu, Singh and others formed a coordination committee for AIKS. Representatives have since then visited agitations at Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Agra and reached Delhi today.
The farmers have decided to join an indefinite protest, after their counterparts, taking part on a ‘Kisan Mukti Yatra’, reach Jantar Mantar.
“Over 160 farmer organisations have come together,” said Singh, reported The Indian Express. “We have a two-point programme: show solidarity with farmers who have resorted to taking their lives and a complete write-off on loans.”