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Tamil Nadu farmers restart protest, accuse PM Modi of 'abetting suicide'

Sehar Qazi | Updated on: 19 July 2017, 17:37 IST
Tamil Nadu farmers restart protest in New Delhi after CM Palaniswami doesn't deliver on promises (Sehar Qazi/Catch News)

Tamil Nadu MLAs have recently gifted themselves a 100% salary hike and an increment in their monthly constituency allowance. All this while the state's farmers continue to starve to death.

Earlier this year, scores of farmers from the state had grabbed national attention with their unique protest at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, for 41 days, demanding a waiver of loans and compensation for the damage to crops due to drought.

Later, when Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami met them in the national capital, and promised to fulfill their demands, the farmers decided to end the protest and go back. But now, two months later, nothing has changed.

“Bankers still continue to come to our homes and torture us. They are selling our lands and we will be left with only one option and that is committing suicide,” said Mahadevan, a farmer from Mettupalayam, who walks with the help of crutches.

Exasperated, the farmers have restarted their protest again in New Delhi. And this time, they are not alone. They have drawn support from the All India Kisan Sangharsh (AIKS), which consists of over 1,500 farmers from Assam, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana, Rajasthan, West Bengal and other states.

Tamil Nadu farmers restart protest (Sehar Qazi/Catch News)
Tamil Nadu farmers with chains around their feet to represent their helplessness (Sehar Qazi/Catch News)
Tamil Nadu farmers with chains around their wrist to represent their helplessness (Sehar Qazi/Catch News)
Tamil Nadu farmers claims to hold skulls of those famers who committed suicide (Sehar Qazi/Catch News)
Tamil Nadu farmers restart protest at Jantar Mantar (Sehar Qazi/Catch News)

Modi 'abetting suicide'

On Sunday, when they attempted to protest outside the Prime Minister's residence at Lok Kalyan Marg, the farmers were immediately detained and taken to Parliament Street police station. “We were not even given water in the police station. They even threatened to send us to Tihar Jail. I told them that we are protesting on the road, sleeping on the road, eating on the road; jail will be a better place, and it will also have a bathroom,” said P Ayyakkannu, the state president of the National South Indian Rivers Inter-Linking Farmers Association and the leader of the protesting farmers.

He continues to laugh while talking about these threats.

“Modi ji is abetting suicide,” Ayyakkannu added. “But this time, we will not leave this place until and unless our demands are fulfilled. We will die here, but won't go back.

Tamil Nadu farmers use chains to represent their helplessness (Sehar Qazi/Catch News)
Tamil Nadu farmers restart protest at Jantar Mantar (Sehar Qazi/Catch News)

The demands

- Profitable price for agricultural products.

- Implementation of the National Waterways Project, conceptualised by engineer AC Kamaraj.

- Crop insurance scheme for individual farmers.

- Writing off farmers' nationalised bank loans.

- Formation of Cauvery River Management Board.

- Monthly pension of Rs 5,000 for farmers above the age of 60, even if they have a son, a daughter, and land.

Farmers from Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh joined force with farmers from Tamil Nadu for a united agitation. (Burhaan Kinu/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Rani claims to hold the skull of her deceased husband during the protest at Jantar Mantar. (Sehar Qazi/Catch News)
First published: 19 July 2017, 16:49 IST
 
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