NEW DELHI: Tamil Nadu's distressed farmers have been protesting at Jantar Mantar for the past 27 days, demanding loan waivers, interlinking of rivers and drought-relief. Since the last few days, the protests have diversified as many people from Tamil Nadu outside the farming community are landing up at the protest site in the national capital to seek justice for their own personal issues and problems.
Narayanswamy, an 84-year-old man from Tamil Nadu's Palladam district has been sitting on an indefinite hunger strike for the last three days. He travelled to Delhi all by himself, crossing about 2,000 kilometers.
He alleges that he was cheated by his two sons and all of his property was taken by his children. He fought for years in the Supreme Court but to no avail.
“The Supreme Court ordered that my son should give me shelter and maintenance money of Rs 5000. But even after the court's order I was not supported by my children and was left alone. I applied for the old age pension but nothing happened. Once upon a time, I used to provide food for hundreds but today I am sitting here with an empty stomach as I don’t have even a penny to buy an idli," cried Narayanswamy.
The sorrowful tales do not end here. There are many other like Narayanswamy who have arrived at Jantar Mantar with the hope of receiving some assurance and support.
For instance, K.Vijaya, 49, who has a half-burnt face, has been sitting on a piece of newspaper at Jantar Mantar for the last 10 days, after her husband abandoned her.
Vijaya says, “My husband left me and married another woman by saying that your face is burnt and I can’t live with an ugly woman. I went to court, but I was asked for money. I have spent all my savings. But now I will fight until I get justice not only for me but for thousands of women like me. Nobody is supporting me but the farmers have shared their food and shelter with me”.
While talking to Express, Ayyakannu who is leading the farmers' protest for the second time, said, “We are protesting for a different cause but we can’t let these people sit alone on these alien roads. Yes, the Centre may not have a heart but we have a big one with us. We are somehow managing here in the rain and in the sun and we will also continue to provide space for these people under our makeshift tent”.