Working President of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MK Stalin and several other party workers were detained by the police on Tuesday in Thiruvarur, Tamil Nadu, for holding protests demanding the immediate redressal of farmers’ grievances in the state. DMK and other Opposition parties staged demonstrations in various parts of Tamil Nadu as part of a statewide strike called to rally support for farmers facing the effects of the drought, IANS reported.
Farmers from Tamil Nadu, who had camped in Delhi for 41 days to seek drought relief from the Centre, have shifted their campaign to their home state with the DMK’s support and will participate in the bandh. Stalin had called for the bandh, and the Congress, Communist Party of India(Marxist) and CPI and also backed his demand.
Trade unions affiliated to Opposition parties, farmers’ bodies, the film fraternity and other organisations, including a lorry operators’ association also pledged support to the shutdown. Associations of local vegetable markets, grocery shops and several auto driver unions also decided to back the bandh, PTI reported.
Normal life was affected even though state government officials had said essential services will not be hit. Local and long-distance government buses and trains continued to ply, and essential services such as milk and electricity supply also functioned normally, though hotels and shops remained closed.
A large number of police officers were deployed to prevent any violence from erupting. Farmers protested on railway tracks in Thiruvarur.
The farmers withdrew their strike in Delhi on Sunday after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami promised to take up their grievances with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Apart from loan waivers, they have been seeking interlinking of rivers, a Cauvery water management board and funds for drought relief from the government. The farmers threatened to resume their strike if their demands are not met by May 25.
Last Saturday, 40 days into their protest, the farmers had drunk their own urine to draw attention to the crisis in the state. They had vowed to eat their own faeces, as well, if their demands were not fulfilled.