The government has "no record" of the deaths of farmers who were protesting the three contentious laws - that have now been canceled - over the last one year, Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar told parliament today in a written reply.
Questioned on the data of deaths at protest sites near Delhi borders, and if the government is planning to give financial relief to the affected families, Mr Tomar told Lok Sabha, "(The) Ministry of Agriculture has no record in the matter, and hence the question (of aid) does not arise."
The statement is likely to trigger an attack from the opposition, months after the centre's remark in parliament on 'no oxygen deaths' data during the second Covid wave sparked criticism.
More than 700 farmers have died, opposition and farmer leaders have said, during the year-long protests at Delhi borders against the contentious laws that were canceled on Monday in parliament in one of the fastest repeals the country has recently seen.
Congress's Rahul Gandhi was among the critics who attacked the centre over not allowing a discussion. "We wanted to discuss MSP (issue), we wanted to discuss the (UP) Lakhimpur Kheri incident, we wanted to discuss the 700 farmers who died in this agitation, and unfortunately that discussion has not been allowed," Mr Gandhi said.
The rollback came ten days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered an "apology to the nation", making the big repeal announcement. "While apologising to the nation, I want to say with a sincere and pure heart that maybe something was lacking in our tapasya (dedication) that we could not explain the truth to some of our farmer brothers," he said last month.
PM Modi also requested the demonstrators to return to their homes.
While the rollback has taken place in parliament, as sought by the protesters, farmers are now pressuring the centre for assurance on the minimum support price for their produce - another key demand.
The government has sought names of representatives from the protesting farm unions for a panel proposed by the Prime Minister to hold talks.
"The Centre has asked for five names from the SKM (Samkyukt Kisan Morcha) for the committee that will deliberate on the issue of minimum support price (MSP) for crops. We have not yet decided on the names. We will decide this in our meeting on Saturday," SKM leader Darshan Pal told news agency PTI on Tuesday.