On the 40th day of their protest at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, the Tamil Nadu farmers took the Centre up on their promise of drinking urine to grab their attention.
The farmers drank urine on Saturday morning to bring the Centre’s attention on the drought situation in Tamil Nadu and make the Prime Minister Narendra Modi accept their demands.
Prem Kumar, farmer from Trichy We will drink urine of all the farmers who are protesting here. We will pretend like Narendra Modi is giving us water and we will drink the urine. It is humiliating, but what else can we do? Prime Minister is not ready to listen to our demands.
Kumar told The News Minute that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapaddi Palanisamy will be meeting them on 23 April.
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. The farmers, who arrived in New Delhi on 23 March, alleged that the Centre has not agreed to any of their demands.
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. About 40 farmers have been participating in the protest in Delhi. 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.
Iyyakannu to TNMWe want river interlinking, pension of Rs 5,000 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 4 April directed Tamil Nadu government to waive loans of all farmers in cooperative banks.
"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.
(This article was published in an arrangement with The News Minute. It has been updated.)