Tamil Nadu Farmers accuse PM Modi of treating them like “illiterate third class citizens”

‘Agitation won’t stop, will stand in the sun till we die,’ say TN farmers in Delhi on day 31

It's been a month since Iyyakannu, the Tamil Nadu chief of the Desiya Thenidhiya Nathigal Inaippu Vivasayigal Sangam, led over 100 farmers to the national capital. This 68-year-old from Trichy has made heads turn from day one of the protests, with imaginative solutions to portray the despair of drought hit farmers in Tamil Nadu. But despite their many attempts to get the Centre’s attention, not just one one in their demands has been fulfilled.

To Jantar Mantar, political leaders have flocked since their arrival in the capital on March 13 to file their support. Leaders from the AIADMK, DMK, MDMK and the Congress' Rahul Gandhi has ensured that chance to be seen with one of these agitators isn't missed. Nevertheless, an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to elude these farmers, despite this apparently growing political support.

On Monday, when a promised meeting with the Prime Minister failed to materialise, a group protested nude in the prestigious South Block in Delhi and of farmers, ripped off their loin cloth. Iyyakannu, who was also present at the venue, told The News Minute that even the women who were participating in the protests would resort to nudity if their demands weren't met.

"Our demands have remained the same since day one," says Iyyakannu, in an exclusive interview to The News Minute. We've brought these demands to the doorstep of the Centre as the state doesn't possess the ability to give each one of these directives," he says.

The Madras High Court on April 4 directed Tamil Nadu authorities to waive loans of all farmers in cooperative banks, is that not a triumph by itself? "Merely cooperative banks will not do, the Centre must ensure that nationalised banks write off our loans as well. There is no stage of drought damages if farmers have a loan looming over their head," says Iyyakannu.

Farmers at the capital who initially demanded the Centre release over Rs 39,000 crore as drought Nadu, have relief to Tamil now toned it down to Rs 21,708 crore. This, according to the protesters, is founded on the latest report on aid measures of the state Government. "That sum is simply for our state. But now our demonstrations have been joined by farmers from Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Kashmir and even Uttarakhand.

The Prime Minister has not met with the agitating farmers for one entire month, so, is that?

But the farmers that have gathered here from across the country will prove him wrong. That is certainly not all. It's because we do not have any BJP connections. He can simply meet folks who are affiliated. "

Over 200 farmers, based on Iyyakannu, were a portion of the protests in Jantar Mantar. "We also have long-term solutions at heart. Agricultural goods should be priced in a manner which is affordable for the farmer. We are likewise planning to request the formation of a Cauvery Management Board to end our water woes and also to discontinue farmer suicides," he says. The Supreme Court on Thursday pulled up the state government above their insensitivity towards farmer suicides, while Iyyakannu takes on the Centre in New Delhi.

"The state stands on the spot of a loco parentis to the citizens and when there are really so many departures of farmers in the state of Tamil Nadu, it becomes obligatory on the area of the state to state worry and sensitiveness to do the needful and not let the impecunious and poverty stricken farmers to resign with their fate or leave the downtrodden along with the poor to give to the theory of fatalism," said the SC bench comprising of Justices Dipak Misra, AM Khanwilkar and MM Shantagoudar.

This warning, however, came on a day when yet another farmer took his life after being unable to repay a loan of Rs 5 lakh.

"Farmers will no longer endure quietly," says Iyyakannu. "For us, these protests are a final resort. I have lost 10 kg, and I can barely stand up. But the agitation is not going to quit, we'll stand within this blistering sunlight, till we die if that's what it takes for the Prime Minister to fulfil our demands," he challenges.

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