New Delhi: A group of protesting farmers from Tamil Nadu arrived on Thursday for the two-day kisan rally, carrying skulls of two of their colleagues who had committed suicide. They also threatened to march naked if they were not allowed to go to Parliament on Friday. (Also read: Farmers March to Kolkata in Protest Against Agrarian Crisis)
About 1,200 members of the National South Indian River Interlinking Agriculturalists Association reached the national capital in the early hours of Thursday, said their leader P Ayyakannu.
They were among the thousands of farmers marching to Ramlila Ground on Thursday and to Parliament Street on Friday, to press for their demands, including debt relief and remunerative prices for their produce.
Ayyakannu said he was expecting more farmers affiliated with his association to arrive from Trichy and Karur. He said their demands include removal of all farmer loans, a profitable price for their agricultural products and a Rs 5,000 pension for farmers per month.
“Our main agricultural activities include paddy cultivation, cotton farming, horticultural activities like coconut cultivation, banana cultivation. More than 700 farmers have committed suicide in Tamil Nadu due to loans that they could not repay. We have no water and have been suffering from drought like situations for the last five years. This year, too, we suffered due to storms.
“Tomorrow, we will stage naked protests if police stop us from going to Parliament,” he said. The 20 women farmers in his group will not be part of the naked protests, he clarified. Last year, the group staged protests at Jantar Mantar with the skulls of eight farmers who killed themselves owing to farm losses.