Can the protests by farmers from Tamil Nadu at Jantar Mantar get any more desperate? On Saturday, the 40th day of the protest, farmers drank urine to get the Centre’s attention towards the drought situation in Tamil Nadu and make the Prime Minister accept their demands.
Speaking to The News Minute, Prem Kumar, a farmer from Trichy who is part of the protest, said, “We drank urine of all the farmers who are protesting here. We pretended like Narendra Modi is giving us water and we drank the urine. It is humiliating, but what else can we do? Prime Minister is not ready to listen to our demands,” he said.
He added that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapaddi Palanisamy will be meeting them on Sunday.
About 40 farmers are part of the protests that have been going on in Delhi and farmers have resorted to all kinds of gimmicks to convince the centre to accept their demands.
Four days ago, farmers stuffed hay into their mouths to send out a message that they have been reduced to animals by the drought conditions in the state.
On March 23, the farmers had arrived in New Delhi with a fixed set of demands, none of which has been met by the centre, they allege. One of their key demands is that the Centre should declare Tamil Nadu a drought-hit state. Besides this, the farmers want the government to provide immediate relief and waive their debts from all banks.
Last week, a man in a Modi mask whipped farmers at Jantar Mantar, even as the farmers begged him to save them. The farmers have resorted to various steps to grab Centre’s attention like holding pieces of a dead snake in their mouths. They also tied ropes around their necks and threatened to commit suicide, and also brought the skulls of farmers who had killed themselves.
Criticism of the protests
The protesters have been criticised of staging a drama in Delhi and pressurising the centre, when it was the state's turn to act.
Iyyakannu, the Tamil Nadu chief of the Desiya Thenidhiya Nathigal Inaippu Vivasayigal Sangam, responded to these allegations earlier.
He told TNM, "We want river interlinking, pension of Rs 5000 for farmers above the age of 60 and waiver of loans by banks and finance companies. We have brought these demands to the doorstep of the Centre because the state does not have the power to give all these directives."
The Madras High Court on April 4 directed Tamil Nadu government to waive loans of all farmers in cooperative banks, is that not a victory in itself? "Just cooperative banks will not do, the Centre must ensure that nationalised banks write off our loans as well. There is no point of drought compensation if farmers have a loan looming over their head," said Iyyakannu.