NAGAPATTINAM: The stark contrast with Vijay Mallya was impossible to miss, and farmer groups in Tamil Nadu were quick to it. A purported social media video showing policemen and loan recovery agents of a bank roughing up a farmer in Thanjavur district for falling behind on his loan repayment has galvanized farmers here.
Having read about the flight of Vijay Mallya in the newspapers this morning and learnt of the beleaguered farmer of Thanjavur, they gathered in some numbers to stage ademonstration in Nagapattinam on Thursday.
No one quoted Keynes, that if a man owes a few thousands to a bank, the bank owns him; and if the man owes a million, he owns the bank. Nevertheless, searching questions were asked: for instance, how did Mallya get to keep his limousines despite being Rs 9000 crore in debt, while the Thanjavur farmer had to part with his tractor for being late to pay two instalments on his loan remainder of Rs 1.34 lakh.
“A unarmed farmer was treated as a criminal by the police and loan agents for failing to pay just two instalments,” asked Cauvery delta farmer V. Dhanabalan. “Will the government do the same thing to Vijay Mallya? Will they seize his cars?”
Protesters at the demo said they know or know about the unfortunate farmer in the video. He is said to be Balan, son of Govindasamy, from Chozhagankudikadu village near Papanadu in Thanjavur district. He is said to have taken an auto loan of Rs 3.84 lakh from a private bank in 2011. Though he did cough up about Rs 4.11 lakh so far by way of repayment, he fell behind on his last two instalments.
On March 4, the protesters claimed, bank officials accompanied by the Papanadu police personnel turned up at Balan’s house and seized his tractor. Some said the farmer was manhandled too.
A purported video recording of the events is being circulated in the social media, and this provided occasion to farmers belonging to the Cauvery Delta Farmers' Protection Association to stage the demo.