New Delhi: The Home Ministry may have issued an advisory to all states to ensure the safety of Kashmiris following the Pulwama attack, especially of students and shopkeepers who have been facing Right wing violence, but the stamp of approval for such bigotry has now come from none other than a constitutional authority – Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy.
At a time when reports about growing violence and harassment of Kashmiri students and traders across North India are pouring in, mainly in the BJP-ruled states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh the Meghalaya Governor on Tuesday tweeted in support of boycotting “everything Kashmiri”, even tourism.
“Don’t visit Kashmir, don’t go to Amarnath for the next two years. Don’t buy articles from Kashmir emporia or Kashmiri tradesman who come every winter,” Roy tweeted, quoting from an “appeal” by a retired Army officer, which he said, he was “inclined to agree” with. The governor was supporting the call for boycott as a reaction to the terror attack in Pulwama that left at least 40 CRPF troopers dead.
An appeal from a retired colonel of the Indian Army: Don’t visit Kashmir,don’t go to Amarnath for the next 2 years. Don’t buy articles from Kashmir emporia or Kashmiri tradesman who come every winter. Boycott everything Kashmiri.
I am inclined to agree — Tathagata Roy (@tathagata2) February 19, 2019
Roy, who was a Bharatiya Janata Party leader before being appointed governor of Tripura, is known for his politically partisan tweets.
On his Twitter account, he describes himself as “Right-wing Hindu socio-political thinker, writer, ideologue. Also, Governor, Meghalya”.
The partisan tweet by Roy has evoked a strong reaction on social media with many demanding his immediate sacking for going against the Constitution of India.
People’s Democratic Party leader and former Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti, lashed out at the governor for his “deplorable” statement, and sought his immediate sacking.
“Deplorable statement coming from the Governor of Meghalaya. GoI must sack him immediately. If they fail to do so, it means he has their tacit approval and are using it as an election ploy to polarise the situation”, Mufti tweeted
Deplorable statement coming from the Governor of Meghalaya. GoI must sack him immediately . If they fail to do so, it means he has their tacit approval and are using it as an election ploy to polarise the situation. https://t.co/AQE0e1akUH
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) February 19, 2019
It may be recalled that Roy had also tweeted in favour of an Army major tying a youth to a jeep in Kashmir in 2017.
According to a Scroll.in report, the governor had praised Army Major Leetul Gogoi for tying a youth to his jeep and parading him around in Kashmir in 2017. “What Major Leetul Gogoi did to prevent being hit by pelters’ stones is the least that can be done in self-defence,” he tweeted. “But that is NOT ENOUGH.”
Even during his stint as governor of Tripura, Roy had courted controversy for his politically partisan tweets in favour of BJP. After the Left government lost the elections and BJP activists pulled down a statue of Lenin even as the law and order situation was going out of hand with mobs burning down CPI(M) offices, Roy tweeted:
“What one democratically-elected government can do, another democratically-elected government can undo. And vice versa.”
In fact, he defended the vandalism by BJP-affiliated outfits in Tripura. According to an Economic Times report.
“His tweet on March 6 was widely read as a justification for the vandalism. “Fundamental questions are coming up. We removed George V from India Gate, New Delhi, Queen Victoria from front of her memorial in Kolkata, renamed Aurangzeb Road, all by government fiats. What if the government similarly decides to remove Lenin's statue, rename Lenin Sarani? Any answers?” he tweeted.”
In a situation where Kahsmiris are being hounded by Hindutva outfits, and sedition cases are being slapped left, right and centre for ostensibly anti-India posts and tweets, will the Narendra Modi government also take action against a constitutional authority like a governor posting a tweet that pits one Indian against another and promotes hatred?
Also read: Jingoism Grips India After Pulwama Attack, Kashmiri Students Leave for Home