The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) on Wednesday condemned the Union government’s response in Parliament on compensation to the kin of farmers who died during the protest against the three agriculture laws and reiterated its demand for financial assistance to the families of those deceased, an official statement said.
Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar reportedly said the government has no information about farmers’ deaths during the protest and therefore, the question of financial assistance does not arise.
In the statement, the SKM alleged that the BJP government was trying to divide protesting farmers by not starting formal dialogue again and not responding formally to the letter sent by the SKM, reminding it about the pending demands.
“The BJP government should stop attempting to divide farmers even at this stage. Farmers’ unions stand united and the Modi government should stop its continued divisive agenda. The SKM is awaiting formal communication with all required details from the government,” it said.
Criticising the Union government’s response, the SKM, an umbrella body of 40 farm unions, said that through such remarks the Union government continues to “insult” the huge sacrifices made by protesting farmers.
“The SKM condemns the response of Government of India in Parliament where Narendra Singh Tomar in a written reply said that the government has no information about deaths in the farmers’ movement and therefore, question of financial assistance does not arise.”
“The SKM reiterates its demand for compensation and rehabilitation of the kin of more than 689 martyrs in the ongoing agitation,” the statement said.
Senior farmer leader and SKM core committee member Shivkumar Sharma ‘Kakkaji’ alleged that the government was “lying” and running away from its responsibilities by making such remarks.
“Teams of the Intelligence Bureau were collecting information from us about farmers who were martyred during the course of the movement but still the government is saying that they have no record of such deaths. It shows the government is lying in Parliament. It is the government’s responsibility to provide compensation to the families of deceased farmers,” Sharma told PTI.
He said the government can also check with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) about farmers’ deaths during the agitation as they also collect data about all types of deaths in the country.
The farmers’ body also clarified that the agitation is still continuing and no one is leaving protest sites.
“Morchas around Delhi borders continue, with more tractor-trolleys reaching the protest sites and the struggle will continue. More farmers are coming so that everyone can go back together victorious,” the statement said.
The SKM appealed to farmers not to believe falsehoods being spread about protests ending.
It added that the SKM will hold its meeting on December 4, as announced earlier, and decide the future course of the agitation.
On Monday, a Bill was passed in Parliament to repeal the three contentious farm laws.
Repeal of the farm laws was one of the main demands of the thousands of protesters. But the stalemate continues as their other demands, such as legal guarantee on MSP, compensation to families of farmers who died during the movement and withdrawal of cases against them are still to be met.
The Union government on Tuesday demanded five names from the SKM for a panel to deliberate on MSP and other issues.
However, the SKM in a statement said that its leaders had received a phone call from the Centre on the issue but they were yet to get a formal communication in this connection.