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Chandigarh: Sixty-eight people have died due to varied reasons while protesting against the Centre’s farm laws at the state borders with Delhi, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij told the Assembly here on Monday.

In a written reply to a question raised by two Congress MLAs, Vij said 21 of them belonged to the state while 47 were residents of Punjab.

Of these, 51 died due to health issues, 15 in road accidents and two committed suicide till February 18, he said.

Vij told the House that as of now there is no proposal under the state government’s consideration to give job and financial assistance to the kin of the dead protesters from Haryana.

He said the government is not considering any proposal to give them the status of a martyr.

The question was raised by Congress MLAs Aftab Ahmed and Indu Raj Narwal. They had sought to know the number of farmers who have died protesting at the state borders with Delhi.

The MLAs had asked the number of dead farmers who were from Haryana and other states. The MLAs had also asked if the government is considering any proposal to give relief to their kin.

Thousands of farmers have been protesting since November last year at Delhi borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, demanding a rollback of the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

The protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporations.

However, the Centre has maintained that the new laws will bring better opportunities to farmers and introduce new technologies in agriculture.

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