The protest by Tamil Nadu farmers in New Delhi entered it 23rd day on Wednesday, and with their demands still to be fulfilled, the protesters at Jantar Mantar literally ‘prayed’ for relief: Their hands folded over their heads, the farmers, still dressed in their underclothes rolled on the ground and performed angapradakshinam.
Speaking to The News Minute, Prem Kumar from Desiya Thenindiya Nadhineer Inaippu Vyavasaigal Sangam (a farmer's collective) said:
We are about 150 people protesting at Jantar Mantar, and around 40 farmers did the angapradakshinam to get help from the central government for the farmers. We want the central government to accept our demands. Till then, we will continue to protest.
Prem added that the farmers have not received any response from the central government regarding their issues.
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 – a demand that has in fact been met thanks to a Madras High Court order on the issue.
“We are happy that this order came in our favour. But we want a solution from central government for our issues,” said Prem Kumar.
The farmers' associations have also demanded that the Centre should ensure the interlinking of rivers in the country.
The protesters in Delhi have done different things to get the attention of the government. On Monday, the protesting farmers shaved half their moustache and tonsured half their heads to draw attention to their plight.
Last week, the farmers held 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.
The farmers from Tamil Nadu started protesting on 13 March 2017. It has been 23 days, but there has been no response from the central government.
(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute)