As protests by farmers from Tamil Nadu's delta region entered Day 16 in the national capital, the agitators held pieces of dead snakes in their mouth to draw the Centre's attention. This shocking sight, is an extension of the demonstration that is being held at Jantar Mantar, where farmers are demanding drought relief from the Centre.
A group of these farmers began these alarming forms of protest in Trichy, where they held dead rats in their mouths. The farmers, owing allegiance to the Desiya Thennidiya Nadhigal Inaippu Sangam had claimed that they were pushed to poverty because the drought had destroyed their crop. While their protests outside the Collectorate shook the system, it did not lead to the results they desired.
Unhappy with a compensation of only Rs 3000 provided by the state, these farmers decided to pursue the matter with the Centre. Arriving in Delhi on March 13, over 80 farmers protested with the skulls of agriculturalists, who had committed suicide. Following this, they have now taken to even desperate methods to express their anguish.
"We arranged for the snakes here, cut it into pieces and distributed them," says Premkumar, a farmer from Trichy. "With the crops dead, only rats and snakes are left on our fields. We each held a piece of a snake in our mouth to show that this was all we can afford to eat now," he explains. Farmers further allege that the Centre's apathy has reduced them to penury.
"We have been here out on the roads for over two weeks now. We came with three demands and will only leave when they are met," says Premkumar. His statement comes on a day, when one of the protesters had to be rushed to the hospital due to deteriorating health." He was admitted to RM hospital because he became really weak.
The farmers have met with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley three times so far, with Tuesday being the last meeting, where they presented their demands. They also met with President Pranab Mukherjee. However, the Centre has still not responded to their demands.
Even as these farmers continue their agitation in the capital, in Chennai, there was an attempt made to revive protests in the Marina. 10 youngsters were apprehended by the city police after they got into the water with banners, to express solidarity with farmers protesting in New Delhi. The police had to forcefully remove the agitators from the water with the help of local fishermen.