Govt says no record of farmers’ deaths: Tomar
The government has no record of farmers who have died during the agitation at Delhi’s borders against three new farm laws since 2020, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar informed Parliament on Friday.
Tomar also said the government has not undertaken any study to ascertain the apprehensions in the minds of farmers about the three farm laws.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at Delhi’s borders since eight months in protest against the three laws. Out of them, a small group of 200 farmers are now staging a protest at Jantar Mantar in central Delhi after getting special permission.
Asked if the government was aware of the total number of farmers who have died during farm protest since 2020, Tomar said: “The Government of India has no such record.”
However, the central government during discussions with farmers’ unions had appealed to them that children and elders, especially women, should be allowed to go home in view of the cold prevailing at that time and the Covid-19 situation, he said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.
Further, in a separate reply, Tomar said: “No study has been undertaken to ascertain the reasons for apprehensions created in the mind of farmers on account of these farm laws.” However, the Centre has proactively undertaken efforts to reach out the farmers to remove their apprehensions, he added.
Asserting that the government is serious and sensitive towards farmers’ issues, the minister said the Centre has been engaged in active discussions with the farmers’ unions. So far, 11 rounds of negotiations have been held between the government and agitating farmers’ unions to resolve the issues, he added.
In all the rounds of discussions, the government has stressed that instead of insisting on repealing the laws, the farmer unions should discuss about their concerns on specific clauses so that their issues can be resolved, he added.
“During various rounds of discussions, the government continuously requested the farmers unions to discuss the provisions of the farm laws, so that if there is an objection to any provision, the advancement can be made towards resolution of those. But the farmers’ unions insisted only on the repeal of the farm laws,” he said.
The last round of talks between the government and unions was held on January 22. Talks have not resumed following widespread violence during a tractor rally by protesting farmers on January 26.
The Supreme Court has put on hold the implementation of the three laws till further orders and set up a committee to find solutions. The committee has already submitted its report.
‘43 held, 5 cases registered so far during farm protest’
Delhi Police have arrested 43 persons and registered five cases so far during the ongoing farmer agitation against the Centre’s farm laws, Tomar informed Parliament on Friday.
Tomar, in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, said the action against the mischievous persons falls under the purview of Delhi Police.
As informed by Delhi Police, 43 persons have been arrested during the farmers’ agitation so far and five cases registered, he said.
The investigation is pending in four cases, while trial is pending in one case, he added.
On losses incurred by the government due to the protest, Tomar said the agitation led to the inconvenience to the public because of road blockage and other agitation activities.
Also, deployment of police personnel for law and order arrangements led to government expenditure, he said. “But loss cannot be quantified...,” he noted.
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