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Agriculture

No Record of Farmers Dying During Protests, So No Question of Compensation: Centre

Farmers' unions, opposition leaders and other activists have documented more than 700 deaths during the course of the protest.

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New Delhi: Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar told Parliament on Wednesday (December 1) morning that the government has “no record” of farmers who lost their lives during the over-year-long protests, and so the question of compensation does not arise.

The three contentious farm laws were repealed in both houses of parliament on Monday (November 29), the first day of the winter session. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced this decision himself in mid November.

Farmers’ unions, opposition leaders and other activists have documented more than 700 deaths during the course of the protest. However, Tomar told the Lok Sabha, “(The) Ministry of Agriculture has no record in the matter, and hence the question (of aid) does not arise.”

In a letter written to Modi after the repeal was announced, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha had listed six demands that still remained unfulfilled, including the legal guarantee for the minimum support price. One of the demands was also that a memorial be constructed for all the farmers who lost their lives during the protests. Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait too has repeatedly reiterated that families of those who lost their lives must be compensated.

As The Wire has reported, families of those who passed away are still seeking justice. Many have pointed how if the government had responded to the farmers earlier and taken their concerns seriously, perhaps lives could have been saved.

So far, only the Telangana government has announced compensation of Rs 3 lakh to families of farmers who lost their loved ones during the protest. The Samajwadi Party has promised Rs 25 lakh to families if voted to power in the Uttar Pradesh elections, slated to be held next year.