The farmers from Tamil Nadu protesting at Jantar Mantar here may not have succeeded so far in getting an audience with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but their unique ways of highlighting their plight have caught the fancy of other protesters at the venue. "Their ways of staging an agitation are unique. They are bold and unheard of. The farmers seem to have understood what it takes to garner attention," said Alamdar Abbas, a protester at Jantar Mantar who has taken up the issue of elevating Hindi as a compulsory language in every state. The farmers from the southern state have been agitating in the national capital for over a month.
During the period, they have run naked, worn sarees, shaved their heads, conducted mock funerals, carried skulls to the prime minister's residence and whipped themselves to highlight their problems. Dev Kumar, another protester who has been demanding SC quota for dhobis, said he felt envious about the media attention the TN farmers were getting. "I feel, we would die here without any attention if we do not do something like what the farmers are doing," he said. A CRPF jawan, who has been following the farmers' protest, said, "Jantar Mantar has never seen such a dramatic protest. This could possibly set the agenda for future protests." The farmers have been demanding a Rs-40,000 crore drought relief package, farm loan waiver and setting up of the Cauvery Management Board by the Centre. "We can't even sleep for longer hours. We wake up at 4 or 5 am and come up with different ways to highlight our plight," said P Ayyakkannu, who has been heading the protest.
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