Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday demanded compensation for the families of the farmers who died during the year-long protests against the now-repealed farm laws. On Tuesday, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar had told the Lok Sabha that the Centre has no record on the number of farmers who died during protests.

At a press conference, Gandhi said that the Congress could provide the government a list of farmers who died. He said that the Congress-ruled Punjab government has identified 403 such farmers in the state and provided compensation to their families. Family members of another 152 farmers who died were given jobs in Punjab, Gandhi said.

“We also have a list of 100 names from other states and a third list which is public information of names that can easily be verified,” he added. “But the government says that such a list does not exist.”

Gandhi said 700 people – a figure that aligns with the farmer unions’ claims – have died during the protests. “Now you are lying about their names,” he added. “Why don’t you have the decency to give them what is their due?”

On Tuesday, Union Agriculture Minister Tomar had told Parliament that due to lack of records on the farmers who died, “question does not arise” on providing compensation to their families.

The Centre’s response could prove to be a new flashpoint in its tussle with the farmers’ unions.

Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision to repeal the three farm laws last month, farmer associations have insisted that protestors would return to their homes only after all their demands are met. Compensation for families of the farmers who died and withdrawal of cases against protestors are among their demands.

In a press note released after Modi made the announcement on November 19, umbrella body of farmers’ unions, Samyukta Kisan Morcha, had said that “nearly 700” protestors had died during the agitation.

At the press conference on Friday, Gandhi once again accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of helping his “industrialist friends”, while denying the existence the farmers who died. The Congress leader said he was not asking for crores of rupees from the government but “minimum compensation” to the kin of those who died during the protest.