In a unique way of protesting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much-debated move of demonetising Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes, a 70-year-old fast-food vendor has shaved off half his head. Yahiya, a native of Kadakkal Mukkunnam in Kerala’s Kollam district, has also vowed not to grow his hair back until PM Modi is voted out of power. Yahiya’s plight came to the fore when Ashraf Kadakkal, an assistant professor at University of Kerala narrated his story in a Facebook post. The sudden cash crunch following the economic reform, has hit the people and political slugfest erupted over the issue.
According to Ashraf, Yahiya, who sells beef fry among other food items, had gone to the Gulf years ago to seek when he realised that the money he earns from climbing coconut trees and working in farms wouldn’t be enough to get his daughter married. “I sold everything I had and went to the Gulf,” he narrated. “Nothing but a life of suffering awaited me there, a poor, uneducated man. I came back with whatever little I made. With that money, and a bank loan from Kadakkal Co-operative bank, I got my daughter married.”
Before Prime Minister Modi announced his ‘surgical strike’ against black money, Yahiya claimed he had Rs 23,000 in cash — all in the form of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.”I tried my best to get it exchanged from nearby banks, stood in queues for two days,” he said, recounting his ordeal. “On the second day, blood sugar level dropped and I almost collapsed.”
Yahiya only has a loan account at a co-operative bank. “Since all transactions at co-operative banks were frozen, I realised I cannot get it deposited anywhere,” he said. After the 70-year-old returned home from the hospital, he burnt the entire Rs 23,000. After that he went to a nearby barber shop and had the hair on half his head shaved off.
“I vow to grow it back only when Prime Minister Modiji, the man who, in a jiffy, burnt all my hard work and savings into ashes, is voted out of power and this country is saved,” he said.