TN farmers leader Ayyakannu had approached court seeking permission to carry out a 90-day hunger strike over the Cauvery issue.

Madras HC gives go-ahead for one-day fast at Marina Ayyakkanu says its of no use
news Court Saturday, April 28, 2018 - 16:25

The Madras High Court granted permission to farmers’ leader Ayyakannu to go on a day-long fast at the Marina Beach in Chennai.

Saturday’s order comes after the Chennai police denied Ayyakannu and his farmers group to go on a 90-day hunger strike at Marina Beach demanding that the Centre set up the Cauvery Management Board.

Ayyakkanu had then moved a petition in the High Court seeking permission to carry out the 90-day protest at Marina Beach.

While giving the go-ahead to Ayyakannu, the High Court observed that protests are even carried out near the White House – the official residence of the US President.  

The High Court’s order also comes a day after the Centre filed a plea with the Supreme Court seeking an extension of two weeks to draft a scheme.

Reacting to the verdict, Ayyakannu expressed disappointment that the High Court had granted only one-day permission for their protest. During the course of the hearing, the farmer leader had agreed to limiting the protest to 30 days.

"We want to conduct a protest demanding that the Cauvery Management board be formed. We initially requested for 90 days and that was not given. The High Court has just granted us one day and that is of no use. We do not want to conduct any kind of symbolic protest. We want to agitate till the board is formed. We will now consult our lawyers and seek further legal recourse in the matter," Ayyakannu told TNM.

Meanwhile, the Chennai police has decided to appeal against the order passed by the single judge of the High Court.

The Marina Beach in Chennai, which was the epicentre of the massive jallikattu protests in January 2017, has been off-limits to protesting groups since. The Chennai police had, in fact, submitted to the court that no one had permission to protest at the Marina Beach, with Additional Advocate General of the state Arvindh Pandian stating that with the exception of the jallikattu protests, no protests had taken place in Marina since 2003.

During the course of the hearing, the High Court had rapped the Tamil Nadu government for its crackdown on protests at the Marina Beach, asking, "Is the Marina beach more important than Cauvery? On festival days like Vaikunda Ekadasi, Christmas and Ramzan, several lakh people go to worship at temples and churches. Will you say that you cannot control the crowds, so people should not celebrate those festivals?"

The court had also observed that the government only has the authority to regulate protests and does not have the authority to ban them altogether.

While listening to the matter earlier, the judge had also called on Ayyakannu to conduct the protest in a 'dignified manner' – a reference to the protests in New Delhi last year, where state farmers resorted to holding skulls, sitting protesting nude and holding dead rats in their mouth.  


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