Delhi: TN farmers call off strike after EPS assurance

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Sunday urged the farmers protesting at Jantar Mantar for the last 39 days to call off their protest and said that he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and submit a memorandum highlighting their plight.

Palaniswami, in a brief 20 minutes meeting, assured that he will take up the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for funds to waive off the loan and urged the farmers to end their protest. The farmers' union said if their demands are not met by May 25, they will resume their strike.

The severe drought in Tamil Nadu previous year and the scuffle with Karnataka that broke over the sharing of the waters, of the River Cauvery left many Tamil Nadu farmers in the lurch.

If our demands are not fulfilled then we will again start protesting after May 25.

Ayyakkannu said the decision was taken also based on the assurances given by Leader of Opposition in the Tamil Nadu assembly M.K. Stalin, MDMK's Premalatha Vijayakanth, Tamil Manila Congress chief G.K. Vasan and the BJP's Pon Radhakrishnan.

The chief minister also talked about the steps the state government had taken to mitigate the hardship of farmers. "We received support from youths and farmers across the country", he said.

The farmers have been demanding Centre's intervention to write off their loans from nationalised banks, a revised drought relief package and resolve the alleged drying up of the Tamil Nadu leg of the Kaveri river.

Over the past 41 days, the farmers have tried to attract attention to their cause by displaying human skulls - purportedly of farmers who had committed suicide -, walked naked near the Prime Minister's office, held live rats in their mouths, organised mock funerals and even drank urine.

  • Eleanor Harrison