As protests by farmers from Tamil Nadu's delta region entered Day 16 in the national capital, the agitators held pieces of dead snakes in their mouths to draw the Centre's attention. This shocking sight is a part of the agitation that is being held at Jantar Mantar, where the farmers are demanding drought relief from the Centre.
A group of these farmers began this alarming form of protest in Trichy, where they held dead rats in their mouths. The farmers, owing allegiance to the Desiya Thennidiya Nadhigal Inaippu Sangam, had claimed that they were pushed to poverty because drought had destroyed their crop.
While their protests outside the Collectorate shook the system, it did not lead to the results they desired.
Unhappy with a compensation of only Rs 3,000 provided by the state, these farmers decided to pursue the matter with the Centre.
Arriving in Delhi on 13 March, over 80 farmers protested with the skulls of agriculturalists who had committed suicide. Following this, they have now taken to even desperate methods to express their anguish.
"We arranged for the snakes here, cut them into pieces and distributed them," says Premkumar, a farmer from Trichy.
With the crops destroyed, only rats and snakes are left in our fields. Each of us held a piece of a snake in our mouth to show that this was all we can afford to eat now.Premkumar, Farmer
The farmers further allege that the Centre's apathy has reduced them to penury.
We have been here out on the roads for over two weeks now. We came with three demands and will only leave when they are met.Premkumar
His statement comes on a day when one of the protesters had to be rushed to a hospital due to deteriorating health.
The farmers have met with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley three times so far, with the last meeting being held on Tuesday, where they presented their demands. They also met with President Pranab Mukherjee. However, the Centre has still not responded to their demands.
Even as these farmers continue their agitation in the capital, in Chennai, there was an attempt made to revive protests at Marina beach.
A total of 10 youngsters were apprehended by the city police after they got into the water with banners to express solidarity with the farmers protesting in New Delhi. The police had to forcefully pull out the agitators from the water with the help of local fishermen.
(The story first appeared on The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)
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