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Meghalaya governor sides with protesting farmers; urges Centre not to offend them

BAGHPAT: Meghalaya governor Satya Pal Malik on Sunday urged the government not to use force against farmers protesting the new farm laws, claiming that he intervened to prevent farmers’ leader Rakesh Tikait from being arrested.

He also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah not to offend farmers protesting the Centre’s new agriculture laws and not to send them home from Delhi empty-handed.

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While speaking at a felicitation ceremony in Baghpat’s Sheelchand Inter College, he said the government should pay attention to farmers’ demands.

Farmers would relent if the Centre provides a legal guarantee of the minimum support price (MSP) for crops, Malik said in his home district.

The governor of Meghalaya also said when he heard talks about the arrest of farmers’ leader Rakesh Tikait, he intervened.

“None of the laws are in favour of the farmers. A nation in which the farmers and soldiers are unhappy that nation would not be able to develop. It is impossible to save that country. As a result, the army and farmers must be happy,” Malik said urging Modi and Shah to stop upsetting them.

Malik described the situation of farmers as “disastrous”, saying, “farmers are becoming poorer by the day, despite the fact that the salaries of government officials and workers rise every three years. Everything a farmer has sown is inexpensive, and whatever he purchases is expensive.”

“They have no idea how they have become poorer. The farmers ‘satyanaash’ (annihilation) is taking place behind their backs. When they sow (crops), there is a price, and when they harvest it, the price decreases almost by nearly Rs 300,” Malik remarked.

Malik sneered at the claims made in favour of the new farm laws, saying: “Farmers can now sell (crops) anywhere, according to a lot of noise. This is a rule that has been in effect for 15 years. Despite this, when a farmer from Mathura transports wheat to Palwal, he is subjected to a lathicharge. When a farmer from Sonipat visits Narela, he is subjected to a lathicharge.”

“Farmers have a lot of questions that need to be addressed. There is currently no legislation that favours farmers. This needs to be fixed. I want to assure you that when it comes to farmers’ problems, I will go to any length to solve them,” he said.

Malik, a Baghpat native, was appointed governor of Meghalaya after holding the same position in jammu and Kashmir before the state’s special status was revoked. “I was there as governor when Article 370 was repealed, and I had a responsibility to manage matters … There will be a bloodbath, according to Farooq Abdullah. No one will hoist the National Flag, according to (Mehbooba) Mufti … The nation, on the other hand, displayed bravery,” he said.

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