New Delhi: Meghalaya governor Satya Pal Malik, in yet another salvo against the Union government, said Friday, “Farmers in our country understand how to snatch their rights. The government should not mess with them. If talks fail, they are capable of using violence to get their rights.”
Malik was speaking at an event organised by the Marwar Jat community in Jodhpur. In his speech, he raised the prospect of another agitation by farmers after their year-long protest against the three controversial agriculture laws, which came to an end after the legislation was repealed in November last year.
He said, “If the government does not take our farmers’ rights seriously, then protests will return to the country’s discourse. I am not against the central government in Delhi, but the voices of farmers in the country cannot be muzzled.”
This event was organised to commemorate contributions by prominent members of the Jat community in Rajasthan, and Malik discussed the “reasons the community continues to be backward.” He said, “The community is still not united over matters that are important to society, and I hope I am able to contribute to unite this important community in the future.”
Malik also spoke about an earlier meeting he had had with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said that there had been disagreement and that he had “fought” over the farmers’ issues.
“When I met PM Modi over the farmers’ agitation, I fought with him regarding their rights. There was an air of arrogance in handling the matter when more than 700 farmers had lost their lives. No one has yet taken the responsibility to assuage their families,” he said.
Criticism of Modi govt, transfers
Malik — a former socialist leader, Janata Dal MP, and national vice president of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — has remained at the forefront as a critic of the central government while serving as governor. In particular, he has hit out at the BJP over the farmers’ agitation, and offered to step down from his position in order to support the “movement”.
He has been criticised in the past for stepping into political discourse while holding the constitutional position of governor.
Malik also referred to his frequent transfers among states. He was governor of Bihar from 2017 to 2018, when he was transferred to Jammu and Kashmir. He served there until 2019, and was then posted to Goa in 2020, before being transferred to Meghalaya in 2021.
“Once I am done serving as a governor, I will return to the role of an organiser, where I will ensure that communities unite in our country. I don’t care much about these frequent transfers,” he said.
(Edited by Rohan Manoj)