Bhartesh Singh Thakur
Tribune News Service
Sonepat (Singhu border), December 7
Tamil Nadu farmers who led months long protest at Jantar Mantar (Delhi) in 2017 and then again in 2018 have joined their Punjab and Haryana counterparts at the Singhu border.
They say they have come here as they owe gratitude to gurdwaras which had fed and gave shelter to them during their protests.
“When thousands of farmers from Tamil Nadu had protested at Jantar Mantar, only gurdwaras provided us with food, shelter, medical help and everything. That is the reason, the Punjab farmers are our brothers and sisters. Not only that, if there is no Punjab, there is no India. This state is providing food to the whole country,” said R Sellaperumal, State Propaganda Secretary of National South Indian River Inter-Linking Farmers’ Association.
The association had come to national prominence in 2017 when they led scores of Tamil Nadu farmers in using unique methods to highlight their protest including rolling naked on road, holding dead snakes in their mouths, eating mice and holding human skulls which they claim were of those farmers who committed suicide in distress.
They were seeking drought relief package, loan waiver and Cauvery Management Board from the Centre.
For Singhu border, a message in Tamil from a protesting farmer on the Sun TV channel acted as catalyst. Rajwinder Singh, who has been protesting at Singhu border from the day one and is associated with farmers’ leader Baldev Singh Sirsa, had issued an appeal.
“I know the Tamil language. I appealed to the Tamil Nadu farmers to join us against the farm laws. The message went viral. After that a number of farmers’ groups contacted us. Four to five groups have already reached here including one representing actor Kamal Hassan,” said Singh.
“Our president P Ayyakannu was to come here too but the state government has not been allowing him. Fifty people could come here by train, but 100 more are coming. The state government has been stopping our farmers to come here,” said Sellaperumal.
“These agrarian laws would turn farmers into beggars. Until these laws are cancelled, we will not move from this place to Chennai,” he said.
“We want to make this government (Central government) listen to us. Out state government has also not been doing anything for the farmers,” said Andabar, Association’s Ariyalur (Tamil Nadu) president.
“All protesting Tamil Nadu farmers would have died had gurdwaras not helped us in 2017 and 2018. We want to help our Punjab farmers,” said Jothimurugan, Association’s Chennai president.
A delegation from ‘Naam Tamilar Party’ also addressed farmers at the Singhu border. One of the speakers attempted to speak in Punjabi and said, “Tussi Aise Hi Datte Raho (You should continue to deploy like this).”