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Tamil Nadu farmers temporarily call off strike after CM's assurance

April 23, 2017 21:03 IST

Tamil Nadu farmers protesting at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi temporarily" called off their agitation on Sunday after over 40 days after Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami "promised" to meet their demands.

"The chief minister and the Union finance minister have the power to take a call on our demands. We have decided to call off the agitation for a period of one month based on the assurances given by our chief minister," farmers' leader Ayyakkannu told reporters.

"If the promises are not met, we would resume the protest in the national capital in a bigger way on May 25," he said.

Ayyakkannu said the decision was taken also based on the assurances given by Leader of Opposition in the Tamil Nadu assembly M K Stalin, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's Premalatha Vijayakanth, Tamil Manila Congress chief G K Vasan and the Bharatiya Janata Party's Pon Radhakrishnan.

The farmers, who have been staging a protest for the past 41 days demanding a Rs-40,000 crore drought relief package, farm loan waiver and setting up of the Cauvery Management Board by the Centre, had earlier refused to end their agitation despite requests by several Union and state ministers apart from leaders of various regional political parties.

"We will be leaving for home today or tomorrow and we will be taking part in a state-wide bandh on April 25 in Tamil Nadu," said Ayyakkannu.

Palaniswami, who took part in a Niti Aayog meeting in New Delhi on Sunday, said he had submitted a memorandum containing demands of the farmers to the prime minister.

"Among other issues, we also raised the farmers' issue in the meeting with the PM," Palaniswami told reporters in New Delhi.

Calling the agitation a "success", Ayyakkannu said the Centre had "undermined us and meted out step-motherly treatment".

"However, the agitation has become a success and has caught the attention of people across the world. We received support from youths and farmers across the country," he said.

During the course of the protest, the farmers have turned to increasingly desperate measures to direct attention to their issues.

They have shaved their heads and half their moustaches and kept mice and snakes in their mouths, conducted mock funerals, flogged themselves and even carried skulls which they claimed were of farmers who had committed suicide due to debt pressure.

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