The central government has "no record" of the deaths of the farmers who protested against the now-repealed three contentious farm laws, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar informed Parliament.
In a written reply to the Opposition's query on whether the government will grant financial aid to the kin of the farmers who died during the year-long protest, Tomar said, "The Ministry of Agriculture has no record in the matter and hence the question of aid does not arise."
Farmer leaders maintain that over 700 farmers lost their lives while camping out at the Singhu, Tikri, and Ghazipur borders against the contentious agri laws since November 2020. Largely, the deaths occurred due to harsh weather, infections from unhygienic conditions, and suicide, India Today reported.
In response to a question by Congress MP KC Venugopal on attacks on farmers by the administration or citizens, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said there were no reported cases of "hurt to farmers due to attack on farmers' protests" separately.
Despite the passage of the Farm Laws Repeal Bill in the Lok Sabha, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has said the farmers' protest will continue until the government accepts their demand to provide a legal guarantee for Minimum Support Price (MSP). They have also demanded withdrawal of the police cases lodged against protesting farmers and compensation for the kin of the deceased farmers.
Punjab Govt Says 220 Farmers Dead During Agitation
According to The Indian Express, till July 20, details of 220 such farmers/farm labourers who died in the agitation have been verified. Out of these 220, 203 (92%) farmers/farm labourers deceased were from Punjab's Malwa region, while 11 (5%) deaths were from Majha and six (2.7%) from Doaba regions in the state.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, the body spearheading the farmer protest, has put the figure to over 670 deaths. A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the rollback of the farm laws, the farmers' body stated, "So far, over 670 protestors have succumbed in this movement. The BJP government has refused to acknowledge the high human cost. The martyrs deserve homage to be paid in the Parliament session, and a memorial erected in their name."
Meanwhile, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi has claimed that about 700 farmers had lost their lives in the protest. On the first day of the Winter Session of Parliament, the Congress leader had tweeted, "700 farmers were martyred in the farmers' protest. Their martyrdom was not spoken about in Parliament, nor was it respected by paying tribute."