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Rahul shares list of ‘deceased farmers’, says their kin were compensated by Punjab govt

Hitting out at the BJP-led Centre for its “lack of humanity” and calling it “arrogant”, Rahul said the government is unwilling to compensate Covid-19 deaths and is not ready to give financial assistance to the families of the deceased farmers.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: December 3, 2021 7:29:44 pm
Talking to the press, Rahul Gandhi demands compensation to the families of deceased farmers, in New Delhi on Friday. (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)

Days after the government told Parliament it has no data on farmers who died during the year-long protests, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Friday came up with a list of over 400 deceased farmers and claimed their families have been compensated by the party-ruled Punjab government.

Hitting out at the BJP-led Centre for its “lack of humanity” and calling it “arrogant”, Rahul said the government is unwilling to compensate Covid-19 deaths and is not ready to give financial assistance to the families of the deceased farmers.

“This is not the way the Prime Minister of India should be behaving. This is a very unpleasant, immoral and cowardly way to behave,” he said.

A few days back in a written reply to questions related to the farm laws and the farmers protests, including whether the Centre proposes to provide financial assistance to the kin of the farmers who died during the agitation, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had said the government does not have any record of farmers who died during the protests.

Claiming around 700 died during the one-year-long farmers protest, Rahul said, “We did some homework. We have names of 403 people whom the government of Punjab compensated Rs 5 lakh each. It also provided jobs to 152 people. We have another list where we have names of 100 people from other states. Then there is a third list which is based on public information of names, addresses and phone numbers which can easily be verified if the government wants to.”

He added, “The lists exist but the government insists they don’t. What is the purpose? These people have died as a result of the agitation. We are not talking about billions of dollars, thousands of crores of rupees. We are talking about minimum compensation for the sacrifice they have made. The Prime Minister himself has admitted that he has made a mistake. He has apologised to the nation and as a result of the mistake, 700 people have died. Now, you are lying about their names. Why don’t you have the decency to give them what is their due? The government of India should pay compensation and help these families.”

Rahul also alleged that the government will do “anything for two-three big industrialists who are friends of the Prime Minister and the government”. But when it comes to the farmers, they are simply denying and saying these 700 people do not exist, he added.

“Minimum compensation is the minimum respect you can give. Why did he apologise? Because he tried to implement a wrong law and these people have died because of that. On one side he is apologising and on the other the government is denying the existence of these people. We have the list. The Prime Minister, if he wishes, can directly call them up and speak to them to verify. He will get to know,” he said.

The Punjab government, Gandhi said, is not responsible for the deaths of these people. “It was not our responsibility. However, we have paid because we understand they are going through a difficult time. We intend to give a bulk of them jobs and have already acted on it,” he said.

Asked what could be the government’s reason to not announce compensations for the families of the farmers who died, he said, “Arrogance. They think we are in power so everyone needs to listen to us. There is no humanity. The Prime Minister would have done it in a minute had he thought about the families, their children, their education, their healthcare. But he is only thinking about his image and position.”

Press should have access to Parliament: Rahul

On the restrictions on access to Parliament’s press gallery, Rahul said, “I think the press should certainly have access to Parliament. I think it is important. It is pretty clear it is not happening and perhaps it will not happen. This is new India, get used to it for a while.”

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