India on Friday saw large-scale protests by farmers across states against the new agriculture reforms passed by the BJP-led government.
The farmers under the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) banner are protesting the farm sector bills, alleging they were “anti-farmer" legislations, that were passed by the Parliament during the just-concluded Monsoon Session. Several farmers’ organisations, including from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, are protesting against the contentious farm bills as part of a nationwide strike. Protesting farmer organisations have blocked several national highways, including the Delhi-Amritsar highway, Delhi-Meerut highway, Karnataka-Tamil Naadu highway.
As visuals of the protests started surfacing on social media, Tamil Nadu stood out: farmers carried human skulls and had their hands chained.
The Farmers from Tamil Nadu’s Trichy district protested by tying their hands and holding human skulls outside the district collector’s office.
#TamilNadu : Farmers from National South Indian River Interlinking Farmers’ Association sit outside Collector's office in Trichy with human skulls.#BharatBandh #NoToFarmBills #भाजपा_हटाओ_किसान_बचाओ #BharatBand @HansrajMeena pic.twitter.com/TUlVBeGD02— Nishant (@Nishant01554551) September 25, 2020
The protest was organized by the National South Indian Rivers Link Agricultural Association. “The farmers have tied themselves with long chains which symbolically represent the farmers’ bill that has tied them. The human skulls state that they will become dead if the bill is implemented," Ayyakkannu, the president of the association told ANI.
In 2018 too, a group of farmers from Tamil Nadu arrived in Delhi for the two-day kisan rally, carrying skulls of two of their colleagues who had committed suicide and threatening to march naked if they are not allowed to go to Parliament.
A farmer from Tamil Nadu (India) holding the skulls of his co workers, protesting against the removal of the state safety net which will leave them to the mercy of private capitalists. pic.twitter.com/LuwvIo0mzm— 🌥️ (@Murtaza0Mehdi) September 24, 2020
According to the Centre, the Bills will help small and marginal farms by allowing them to sell produce outside mandis and sign agreements with large agri-business firms and will do away with stock-holding limits on key commodities.
The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 were passed by Parliament recently by voice vote despite objection from opposition parties.