‘They would have died even at home’: Haryana Agriculture minister on death of farmers at Delhi borders

Congress reacts: ‘Only an insensitive and uncultured person can use such words for annadatas…’

“Yeh ghar mein hote, toh bhi marte, yahaan nahi mar rahe kya? Meri baat sun lo (laughs), lakh do lakh mein se 200 che maheene nahi marte kya? Koi heart attack ho ke mar gaya, koi bukhar ho ke mar gaya. (They (farmers) would have died even at home. Are they not dying here? Listen to me, out of one-two lakh, don’t 200 die in six months? Someone dies due to heart attack, some of fever).”

This was the response of Haryana’s Agriculture Minister J P Dalal Saturday when mediapersons questioned him about the deaths of farmers on Delhi’s borders. Nearly 200 farmers have lost their lives due to various reasons during the ongoing farmers’ agitation against the three contentious farm legislations.

Dalal went on to say: “Mujhe ek cheez bata do ke Hindustan ki average age kitni hai, aur saal mein kitne marte hain/ Naagrik ka jahan tak mudda hai, mare hue ke prati meri hardik samvedna hai, 135 crore ke prati samvedna hai, bharat ek hai, bharat ke har nagrik ko haq ek hai (Tell me one thing: what is the average lifespan in India, and how many die in a year. As far as a citizen goes, I offer heartfelt sympathies over the deaths, to the 135 crore. India is one, and the rights of every Indian is same).”

On media’s queries regarding the manner in which the farmers lost their lives during the agitation, Dalal said, “Yeh accident se nahi mare na, swecha se mare hain.. mare hue ke prati meri poori poori hardik samvedna hai. (They did not die in any accident, they died due to their own will…. I offer my condolences).”

Talking further about the farmers who lost their lives, Dalal said, “Koi sympathy ke usme gaya, koi jaati ke chakkar mein gaya”. (Some lost their life for the sake of sympathy, some due to caste).”

Dalal’s comments prompted a sharp response from the Congress. “Only an insensitive and uncultured person can use such words for annadatas who are struggling for their demands. But, yet, they do not feel ashamed. Haryana’s agriculture minister JP Dalal, who had earlier called farmers Pakistan and China supporters, should be dismissed from the State’s Council of Ministers,” said party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala in a tweet.

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