TN farmers suspend Delhi stir after CM's assurances

Farmers from Tamil Nadu who have been agitating at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi for the past 41 days suspended their protest on Sunday.

Desiya Thennidiya Nadhigal Inaippu Sangam president P Ayyakannu, who was leading the farmers, announced in New Delhi that the protest was suspended after chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami assured them that their demands would be met. The farmers had been pressing a charter of demands that included constitution of a Cauvery Management Board and allocation of drought relief funds to Tamil Nadu.

Ayyakanu, however, made it clear that the farmers have only suspended the protest and will not hesitate to come back again if their demands are not met by the state and Union governments before 25 May.

Thanking farmers of other states who supported their stir, Ayyakannu said he was also grateful to the volunteers who took care of their needs. Though leaders of various parties from the state had met the farmers in New Delhi during the course of their agitation, the protest came to an end following Palaniswami's meeting with them.

On Sunday, the chief minister spent about an hour in the morning with the farmers. He was received with applause by the protesters. He discussed their grievances and got their demands in writing before heading for the governing council meeting of Niti Aayog.

Addressing the media at Tamil Nadu House, the chief minister asked the union government to address the legitimate demands put forward by the farmers. Along with the list of demands, a letter on behalf of the state government has been handed over to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A total of 174 farmers left for New Delhi from Trichy to observe a 100-day fast at Jantar Mantar. They started their agitation on 14 March. They tried to protest outside the Prime Minister's residence, but were taken away by police and let off at Jantar Mantar, where they continued their protest.

The protest was noted for its novelty. The farmers adorned skulls around their necks, held dead ratsx and live snakes  in their mouths, and drank their own urine. On 10 April, they stripped outside South Block after they were allegedly denied permission to meet the prime minister.