Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 30
Eight parties, including the Shiromani Akali Dal, the Left, BSP, RLP, NCP, Shiv Sena and NC on Friday wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla demanding a joint parliamentary committee probe into the number of deaths during the farmers’ agitation and also sought Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar’s apology for saying the “government had no knowledge of farmers’ deaths” during the nine-month-long Kisan Andolan.
“We urge you to form a Joint Parliamentary Committee led by an Opposition member to probe the entire issue and ascertain details of the total number of lives lost in the ongoing Kisan Andolan and suggest ways and means to rehabilitate the victim families. The JPC could also take feedback directly from farmers and their representatives about their reservations vis-a-vis the three agriculture laws and submit the same to the government for necessary action. We are confident that as custodian of the august house you will ensure that the insult meted out to farmers and their democratic protest is addressed. This will also send out a clear signal that the temple of democracy stands with the ‘annadaata’ and will not stomach the insult heaped on him,” says the letter to the Speaker written on Friday and signed, among others, by Akali Dal MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal, NCP’s Supriya Sule, BSP’s Danish Ali and NC’s Hasnain Masoodi.
The leaders in the letter also described as galling the agriculture minister going on record to say that neither a study had been conducted to verify the numbers of the farmers’ deaths nor a study to understand the apprehensions in the minds of farmers regarding the three farm laws.
“You will agree that this is a very serious lapse on the part of the agriculture minister. He has, in fact, misled the nation. So we urge you to ask the minister to apologise to the farming community for his intemperate remarks which have hurt their self-respect,” the leaders said.
The letter states that farmers across the nation have been protesting for almost a year against the three farm bills - namely the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020.
“It is very well known that the NDA government did not go through a due consultative process before bringing in the Bills in Parliament even with the farmers, for whose welfare the Bills were supposedly framed. We would like to bring to your notice a most recent painful episode which has hurt the sentiments of the farming community across the country. Union agriculture minister Narendra Tomar has stated in Parliament that the Union Government did not have any record of the farmers who have died in the course of the ongoing Kisan Andolan on the borders of Delhi. It is shocking that the ‘annadaata’ was subjected to this insult despite clear-cut recorded proof of hundreds of farmers being martyred during the Kisan Andolan,” the letter says demanding the minister’s apology.
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