Tamil Nadu farmers protesting in Delhi took their agitation to the next level on Monday. Upset at not being allowed to meet the Prime Minister, several farmers, led by Iyyakannu, took off their clothes close to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), and ran naked on the road in protest.
The farmers reportedly went to the PMO, accompanied by police, to submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister. They were allegedly assured an appointment with the PM but forced to submit the document to another official present there.
On their way back from the PMO to Jantar Mantar, where the farmers have been protesting for 28 days, they jumped out of the vehicles and took off their clothes. The protesting farmers were soon arrested by the police. Some of the farmers even rolled on the road naked as the police dragged them away.
As he was being arrested, Iyyakannu, who is leading the protests, told media persons, "The Prime Minister refused to meet us, that's why we are running naked. This is our sad state, look at our pathetic state."
"We came here to meet the Prime Minister, but they didn't let us meet him. We have no other go, that's why we're running naked," he said.
The BJP, which has been at the receiving end of criticism over the continuing protests, has however questioned the method of protest.
"We condemn the naked protest. It is wrong. It is wrong for farmers to protest in Delhi," said Narayanan, a BJP leader from Tamil Nadu to Puthiya Thalaimurai. "This is a state government issue. Instead of resolving the issue, the state government is actually instigating these farmers to protest in Delhi," he alleges.
Over the last month, these farmers from the delta region of Tamil Nadu, have adopted various methods of protest to express their angst against the Central Government's alleged apathy. They have held skulls of dead farmers in their hands, dead snakes in their mouth and even shaved their heads and moustaches. While they have met the Finance Minister, their demand to meet the PM is yet to be met with.
The farmers are demanding that the Centre release a drought fund of Rs.39,000 crore as requested by the state, waive off farmer loans and ensure pensions for farmers who can no longer work on the field.