Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar on Wednesday said that the government had no data of the deaths of the farmers who were protesting the farm laws over the last year, which have now been repealed. He said this to the parliament in a written reply.
Mr. Tomar told Lok Sabha, "Ministry of Agriculture has no record in the matter, and hence the question does not arise" when he was asked by the opposition on the data and if the government was planning to give financial relief to the families of the affected.
While the government said that there was no data on the number of deaths during the year-long protests at Delhi borders against the three contentious farm laws, opposition, and farmer leaders said that more than 700 farmers had died. The laws were then repealed after a year of protests in one of the fastest repeals the country has seen in recent times.
Offering his apologies to the nation and requesting the demonstrators to return home, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said, "While apologising to the nation, I want to say with a sincere and pure heart that maybe something was lacking in our tapasya (dedication) that we could not explain the truth to some of our farmer brothers".
While the three farm laws were repealed in the parliament, farmers are now demanding assurances on the minimum support price of their produce. The government has sought names of representatives from the protesting farm unions for a panel proposed by the Prime Minister to hold talks.
Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) leader Darshan Pal, while talking to PTI on Tuesday said, "The Centre has asked for five names from SKM for the committee that will deliberate on the issue of minimum support price (MSP) for crops. We have not yet decided on the names. We will decide this in our December 4 meeting".