Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said not giving compensation and jobs to the kin of the farmers who died during the year-long protests against three agriculture laws and not withdrawing police cases against them would be 'big mistakes'.
He also said the Centre has not answered the questions raised by him in the Lok Sabha on the issues of farmers and said its reply was a 'joke'.
'I asked questions in Parliament on agrarian injustice -- Will the farmers who died get compensation? Is the government considering doing something on MSP? How did Covid affect agriculture?
'They did not answer the first two questions and answered the third -- 'Farming continued smoothly during the pandemic!' What a joke!' Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi, using the hashtag "#Farmers".
'Not giving compensation to farmers who died while protesting, not giving jobs and not withdrawing police cases against 'annadatas' (farmers) will be big mistakes. After all, how many times will the prime minister apologise,' he said in another tweet, using the hashtag '#FarmersProtest'.
Gandhi presented a list in Parliament on Tuesday that had the names of all the farmers who died during the year-long protests against the three laws and demanded compensation for them.
All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also favoured the grant of compensation to the families of the farmers who died during the protests and said it will have to be given.
'The families of the farmers who died should get compensation and employment. Today, Rahul Gandhi ji raised this demand in Parliament by giving the names of the farmers who died.
'By not giving compensation to the farmers, the BJP government has shown its anti-farmer attitude. The families of the farmers who died will have to be given compensation and employment,' she said in a tweet in Hindi.
Chief spokesperson of the Congress Randeep Surjewala also asked why is the Centre scared of answering questions on compensation to the farmers who died during the protests and MSP.
'Why is the Modi government so afraid of answering and discussing the issues of compensation to farmers and MSP? Rahul Gandhi ji asked the question, when will the government give compensation to 700 farmers and when will it give MSP?
'The Modi government and the Lok Sabha Secretariat have arbitrarily cut the question. Justice will have to be given to the farmers or else, the Modi government should pick up its bag,' he said in a tweet in Hindi.
In response to Gandhi's questions on farmers' issues, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said, 'During the lockdown, the agriculture sector functioned smoothly.'
'The government of India had taken all necessary measures to ensure smooth operation of agriculture related activities. Farming and allied activities were exempted from the lockdown. Seed, pesticide, fertiliser etc. dealers/shops and other input related activities were allowed to open for making inputs available to farmers,' he said in a written reply.
Tomar also said inter-state and intra-state movement of farm machinery, especially that of combine harvesters, was facilitated.
'As a result of the various steps taken by the department, both harvesting activities of the Rabi crop and sowing of summer crop took place in a systematic manner,' he added.
The minister also enumerated a number of measures taken by the Centre for farmers' welfare, including the grant of credit to them at a low interest rate.