PM’s mistake cost lives of 700 farmers: Rahul Gandhi

NEW DELHI,03/12/2021: Rahul Gandhi addressing media person on farmers issue at party office, in New Delhi on Friday . Photo:Sushil Kumar Verma / The Hindu

NEW DELHI,03/12/2021: Rahul Gandhi addressing media person on farmers issue at party office, in New Delhi on Friday . Photo:Sushil Kumar Verma / The Hindu

Describing the now repealed farm laws as a personal mistake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday accused Mr. Modi of being “untruthful, insensitive, arrogant and cowardly” in not paying compensation to the families of farmers who died during their agitation against these farm laws.

Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters, Mr. Gandhi slammed the Centre for claiming that there is “no record” of the farmers who had died in the protests, and asserted that he would submit a list of 700 such farmers in Parliament on Monday.

The Congress government in Punjab had paid ₹5 lakh compensation to the families of 403 deceased farmers in the State, and provided jobs to 152 of their relatives, Mr. Gandhi said.

In addition to the list of 403 deceased farmers from Punjab, the Congress leader said that his party had a list of 100 names from places outside Punjab, and another list of about 200 names that had been compiled from public records.

“The Prime Minister himself has said that he has made a mistake. He has apologised to the nation . Well, as a result of that mistake, 700 people have died. Now, you are lying about their names. Why? Why don’t you have the decency to give them what is their due?” Mr. Gandhi asked.

“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, adding that the government should have the dignity and humanity to pay compensation to the kin of farmers.

Mr. Gandhi alleged that the Modi government was willing to do anything for the Prime Minister’s “industrialist friends” but unwilling to pay minimum compensation to the families of the deceased farmers. He suggested the Prime Minister should call up the families of these farmers and listen to their pain.

Mr. Gandhi tweeted before the press conference: “When the PM apologized for making anti-agriculture law, then he should tell in Parliament how he will repent? When will the minister involved in the Lakhimpur incident be sacked? How much compensation will be given to the farmers who died and when? When will false cases against the protesters be taken back? When will there be a law on MSP [minimum support price]? Without all this the apology is incomplete.”

The Congress leader drew parallels between the Centre’s unwillingness to pay compensation to deceased farmers and their demand to pay ₹4 lakh compensation to COVID-19 victims.

“It is the same with COVID. Millions of people have died of COVID but you don’t report them or report them as something else. The official figure in Gujarat is 10,000 COVID deaths…We have asked every specific village: how many people have died and do you know what the number comes out to be? Three lakh people have died in Gujarat,” Mr. Gandhi said.

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Printable version | May 20, 2022 3:18:37 pm |