August 19, 2016
Chennai: Thousands of farmers and farm workers affiliated to the left parties were arrested when they attempted to stage a rail roko protest in six Delta districts today, demanding that Karnataka release Tamil Nadu’s due share of Cauvery water, as per the orders of the Cauvery River Water Disputes Tribunal.
The farmers, with the support of various political parties, including the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC), and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), held rail roko and road roko agitations at Tiruchirapalli, Pudukottai, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, and Cuddalore districts.
Traders’ association joined in by closing the shops and business establishments in the Delta region. At Thanjavur, about 300 farmers led by V. Durai Manickam, the general secretary of the Tamil Nadu Farmers Association, affiliated to the CPI, were arrested, when they blocked the traffic near the old bus stand. The agitators burnt the effigy of Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
Former CPI MLA G. Palanichamy, and hundreds of farmers were arrested at Thiruthuraipoondi in Nagapattinam district for the road roko stir. The protesters took out a mock funeral procession and burnt the effigy of Siddaramaiah at several places. Hundreds of farmers, led by K. Balakrishnan, the state president of the Tamil Nadu Farmers Association, were arrested for staging road roko agitation at Tiruvarur.
Talking to newsmen, Balakrishnan said the Cauvery Delta farmers have lost the Kuruvai paddy crop in the last five seasons, and that it has now become impossible to raise even a single Samba crop due to the scarcity of water in Mettur dam.
Rail and road roko agitations were going on in 500 places in the Delta region. Farmers affiliated to Tamil Nadu Farmers Association, Tamilaga Vivasayigal Sangam and All India Vivasaya Thozhilalar Sangam were participating in the agitation.