The government has no records of farmers who died while protesting the now-repealed farm laws hence the question of compensation does not arise, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told the Lok Sabha on November 30.
Tomar's reply—to a series of questions posed by several opposition MPs on the issue of farm laws agitation—is a reiteration of what they said in the Lok Sabha during the Parliament's Monsoon Session earlier this year in August. At the time too, the government had said they do not have records of farmer deaths during protests.
However, in a November 19 press release—issued after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the government's intent to repeal the farm laws—the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of farmers' union, had said "nearly 700" protestors had died during the protests.
"This is farmers' insult. More than 700 farmers lost their lives during protests against 3 farm laws. How can Centre say that they don't have any record of it?" Leader of Opposition Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge told the media outside the Parliament.
"If the government does not have a record of 700 people, then how they had collected data of lakhs of people during the pandemic. Over 50 lakh people lost their lives due to Covid-19 in the last two years but according to the government, only four lakh people died due to the virus," he added.
The farmers started agitating against three contentious farm laws after it was passed by both the houses in the parliament last year. On November 19, Prime Minister Modi apologized to the nation and announced the government's intent to repeal the farm laws.
The inaugural day of the Parliament's Winter Session began on a rocky note as the farm laws were repealed without any discussion despite demands from the Opposition. However, on Wednesday Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said that farmers' protest would not end since the Centre has not yet accepted their demands.
On Monday, Jamhuri Kisan Sabha leader Kulwant Singh Sandhu had said that even though the farm laws have been repealed, "the dharna by farmers will end" only after the Centre meets their other demands like constituting a committee on MSP, withdrawal of FIRs against farmers among others.
The farmers union is slated to meet on December 4 to discuss a future course of action and discuss the five names the government has requested for to add on the committee on MSP.
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