Police also confiscated 30 tractors parked in haphazard manner on the highway by the protesters on Tuesday.

Members of Bharatiya Kisan Sangam, who were arrested for staging a road blockade on the Tiruchi–Chennai national highway on the outskirts on Tuesday, have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and remanded in judicial custody.

Two-hundred-and-one farmers were arrested when they resorted to the protest near the No.1 Tollgate against the distraint proceedings by the banks against the farmers, who had defaulted on repaying agricultural loans.

The farmers alleged that banks were seizing their tractors, and auctioning jewellery. Seventeen others were arrested within city limits.

Cases were booked against them by Kollidam police and Cantonment police under IPC section 147 (rioting), 341 (wrongful restraint), and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) read with section 7 (1) (a) of the Criminal Law Amendment Act.

The farmers were remanded in 15-day custody by Judicial Magistrate IV late in the evening and lodged in Tiruchi Central Prison.

Talks held

Police and prison sources said some of the farmers, including association State vice president P. Ayyakannu, refused to take food initially in the jail.

They relented after prison officials held talks with them. Police also confiscated 30 tractors parked in haphazard manner on the highway by the protestors on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, farmers’ organisations in Tiruchi have demanded release of the arrested farmers. P. Viswanathan, president, Tamizhaga Eri Matrum Aattru Paasana Vivasayigal Sangam, termed the arrest unfortunate and alleged it was an attempt to stifle the voice of farmers. N. Ganesan, joint secretary, Tamil Nadu Milk Producers Welfare Association, also called for the immediate release of the “innocent” farmers.