As Tamil Nadu farmers sit in protest in Delhi's Jantar Mantar for over a month, the Supreme Court has now slammed the state government on the issue of farmer suicides. Calling the suicides a humanitarian crisis, the Supreme Court on Thursday said that the state government cannot be silent on the issue.
The court has given the Tamil Nadu government two weeks' time to report on the steps taken by them to address the issue. The court has also appointed counsel Gopal Sankaranarayanan as amicus curiae in the case.
The apex court was hearing a PIL on the issue of farmer suicides, filed bu the Tamil Nadu Centre for Public Interest Litigation, when it came down strongly on the Tamil Nadu government. The petitioners had earlier approched the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court, where the court had demanded an affidavit from the government on the steps taken by them to prevent farmer suicides.
Refusing to give the Centre a notice on the issue, the Supreme Court on Thursday, too, said that they will first need to be apprised of the steps taken by the state government to stop farmer suicides.
The SC's comments come at a time when farmers from Tamil Nadu have been protesting in Delhi for over a month, demanding drought relief from the central government. The farmers have been sitting in protest in their innerwear, ran naked near the Prime Minister's office, have held the skulls of their colleagues who committed suicide, held dead rats and snakes in their mouths to highlight their plight.
On Thursday, they did somersaults on the road at Jantar Mantar, where they have been agitating since the beginning.
The National Crime Records Bureau report states that 12,602 farmers and agricultural labourers killed themselves in 2015 in India, with 606 suicides being recorded in Tamil Nadu.