Cauvery stir: Farmers bury neck-deep on riverbed

By PTI Published on Apr 07, 2018 10:31 AM IST

Tiruchi: Symbolising death to highlight their plight, a group of farmers had buried themselves neck-deep in the dry riverbed near here as they pressed for setting up of the Cauvery Management Board.

Resorting to a mock funeral yesterday, the farmers, led by P Ayyakannu, with garlands around their neck, got into pits on the Cauvery riverbed at Srirangam.

Ayyakannu, in a bizarre protest in New Delhi last year, had led Tamilnadu farmers in symbolically biting rats and going naked to press for their demand of Rs 40,000 crore drought relief package from the Centre.

Yesterday, he and others sought to drive home the point that the farmers were facing a near-death situation due to non-availability of Cauvery water for irrigation. Choosing the famous temple town of Srirangam, encircled by the river Cauvery and its tributary Kollidam in the heart of the delta region, the farmers staged the 'burial protest' for nearly two hours.

Later they were removed by police personnel with the help of volunteers. Tense moments prevailed for some time when a group of about 50 farmers earlier arrived at the venue raising slogans, demanding immediate constitution of the CMB.

When all of them tried to bury themselves, police personnel prevented them from doing so and allowed only 17 of them to stage the protest. They immediately dug a pit and covered themselves with sand and raised slogans against the Centre for not setting up the CMB, despite the directive of the Supreme Court.

"We will wait till April 9. We trust we will get justice," 73-year-old Ayakannu told PTI.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on the date the petitions of Tamilnadu and the Centre over the formation of the CMB.

On his next plan of action, Ayyakannu, president of National South Indian Rivers Inter-Linking Farmers Association, said, "We have no other option, but to follow the Gandhian path of non-violence and self-suffering..."

A group of college students held an agitation beside a reservoir, near Thanjavur, demanding constitution of the CMB.