In a desperate protest meant to draw the government’s attention to their plight, around 40 farmers ate rat curry in front of the Trichy Collector’s office. Demanding that the Tamil Nadu government declare the state drought-hit, some farmers held up dead rats in their mouth, others rolled on the ground carrying clay pots filled with rodent meat.
“For five years we’ve had no kuruvai crop. This year our samba crop has failed. We’ve given several petitions to the District Collector, and also to the Chief Minister. But no one is listening to us,” said one protesting farmer to Thanthi TV.
Their other demands, he said, were that the state government should waive crop loans and give compensation to every farmer who had suffered crop loss.
Farmers in Tamil Nadu’s Delta region and other districts have been protesting for many days now, as a weak Northeast monsoon together with disruptions in the supply of Cauvery water have led to crop losses on lakhs of acres of land.
According to farmers’ groups, 47 farmers have already killed themselves owing to crop loss in the last two months. Deiva Sigamani, a farmer from Nagapattinam said, “We are also demanding that the state government provide compensation to families of farmers who committed suicide.”
Meanwhile, TV reports suggest that five more farmers have died on Friday in the state. One farmer in Thiruvarur and another in Nagapattinam district died from heart attacks, while three farmers in Tuticorin, Madurai and Nagapattinam killed themselves eating poison.
Friday also witnessed talks between the Tamil Nadu government and farmers’ groups led by CPI State Secretary Mutharasan. 16 farmers representing various unions presented their demands to state Food Minster R Kamaraj, Revenue Minister Udaykumar, Agriculture Minister Duraikannu and Handloom Minister OS Mannian.
The state government called for the talks after a farmer in Tiruvarur died during a protest.
Source: The News Minute