Farmers’ protest: Controversy over Haryana Minister Jai Parkash Dalal’s remark

In a viral video clip, he says farmers’ death during the ongoing agitation is commensurate with the annual death rate and they would have died at their homes as well

Haryana Agriculture Minister Jai Parkash Dalal has courted controversy over his remarks that the farmers’ death during the ongoing agitation was commensurate with the annual death rate and they would have died at their homes as well.

In a video clip going viral on various social media platforms, Mr. Dalal, apparently speaking to a group of journalists on the farmers agitation, said the farmers’ death during the agitation was in proportion to the annual death rate and the average age. “Around 200 people die in a population of 1-2 lakh every six months. So these farmers would have died at their homes as well,” said Mr. Dalal.

He added that the farmers had died due to natural reasons during the agitation. “Some died due to heart attack. And a few were not keeping well,” said the Minister.

When a journalist insisted as to why he could not express sympathy for them, Mr. Dalal retorted that the sympathy could not be expressed in bits and pieces and he had sympathy for the entire 135 crore population. “When a person dies, the entire family is hit. Many of these [the farmers who died] had young kids. I express full sympathy for those who died,” said the Minister, with those around him breaking into laughter.

Mr. Dalal said an average farmer was innocent and lost his life for the “sake of sympathy for others or his caste” during the agitation. “Our own people are gullible. Soon they too will cool down,” said Mr. Dalal, a Jat, apparently referring to the participation of farmers from his own caste in Haryana in large numbers.

On being corrected by a journalist, Mr. Dalal, hastened to add that all people were part of the movement saying that he did not want to court another controversy.

However, it is not for the first time that Mr. Dalal’s remarks on the farmers agitation have created a controversy. Earlier, he had said that many foreign powers, including China and Pakistan, wanted to create instability in the country in the name of farmers’ movement.

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