Parliament winter session: No data on farmers’ death during protest, says govt

Updated on Dec 02, 2021 04:59 AM IST

Farmers’ protest: “The ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare has no record in the matter (deaths) and hence the question does not arise,” the govt told Lok Sabha.

The govt said it has no data on farmers who died during the year-long protests against the three farm laws repealed on November 29. (Hindustan Times)
The govt said it has no data on farmers who died during the year-long protests against the three farm laws repealed on November 29. (Hindustan Times)
By, New Delhi

The Union government on Wednesday told Parliament it has no data on farmers who died during the year-long protests against the three farm laws repealed on November 29, sparking criticism from the Opposition and farm unions.

In a written reply to six related questions, including whether the Centre proposes to provide financial assistance to the kin of farmers who died during the agitation, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the government did not have any record of farmers who died during the protests and therefore there was no question for compensation to their families.

“The ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare has no record in the matter and hence the question does not arise,” the minister told the Lok Sabha.

In his reply on the third day of the ongoing winter session, Tomar also said the government did not have records on the number of police cases registered against farmers in various states.

This is the second time the government has informed Parliament that it does not have information on farmers’ death at various protest sites. During the monsoon session held in July-August, the government said it did not have any such data.

Also Read | On Centre’s 'no data of farmer deaths', Cong’s Mallikarjun Kharge has a question

Farm unions have claimed nearly 700 farmers lost their lives during the protests and their pending demands include compensation as well as withdrawal of all criminal cases lodged against protesting farmers.

On November 19, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), a platform of protesting farm unions, said “nearly 700” protesters” died during the agitation.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge attacked the Union government after the agriculture minister’s reply. “This is an insult to farmers. How can the government say it has no records?” he asked.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 19 announced a decision to repeal the three agricultural laws — which farmers said would have jeopardised their livelihoods — paving the way for Parliament to scrap the legislation, which it did on November 29. The laws had led to a massive farmers’ uprising across states, such as Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Farm unions called Modi’s announcement their “first major victory” but wrote to the prime minister, listing their remaining demands. These include bringing a law to ensure minimum support prices for farm produce, revocation of a proposed electricity bill, which farmers said would make power costlier, and compensation for all farmers who died during protests.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Zia Haq reports on public policy, economy and agriculture. Particularly interested in development economics and growth theories.

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