Raising many eyebrows as well as questions on Constitutional propriety, Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy on Tuesday said that he will back a retired Army officer’s suggestion and boycott Kashmir and Kashmiris economically. His statements comes in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack post which Kashmiris, particularly students, are facing backlash different parts.
“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,” Roy said on Twitter.
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
His statement attracted sharp condemnations from both former J&K chief ministers – Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.
“People like Tathagata want Kashmir but without Kashmiris. They’d sooner see us driven into the sea. He’ll be best placed to know he can’t have one without the other so what’s it to be?” Abdullah said in a tweet.
People like Tathagata want Kashmir but without Kashmiris. They’d sooner see us driven in to the sea. He’ll be best placed to know he can’t have one without the other so what’s it to be? https://t.co/BS1zAG78Xx
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) February 19, 2019
Mufti appealed for Roy to be terminated. She posted, “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.”
“New methods” have to be sought to stop the insurgency in Kashmir, Roy told The Indian Express. He added that this method is a non-violent reaction to the state of affairs in the state for the last 20-30 years and said that the country has been countering the Kashmiri separatists with “limited success” and has unable to quell them.
“Our soldiers are dying,” Roy said.
Roy has not courted controversy on Twitter like this for the first time.
In 2015, Roy commented on the “fighting back” nature of Hindus and had tweeted, “One exception was Gujarat, 2002. I’m glad you appreciate what the Hindus did then.” In June 2017, he had said: “Syama Prasad Mookerjee wrote in his diary on 10/1/1946: “The Hindu-Muslim problem won’t b solved without a Civil War”. So much like Lincoln!”
After his comments on Twitter drew sharp criticism on Tuesday, Roy posted: “Vociferously violent reactions from media and several others to my ECHOING OF a suggestion from a retired Army Colonel.”
Roy was asked whether he was violating his Constitutional oath, he replied that he was “bothered” only with what was written in the Constitution and not with other people’s personal opinions. Responding further, he said that everybody in India is an expert on the subject of Constitution.
“Everybody is trying to say that this is in accordance with the Constitution and this is against the Constitution. Everybody has a right to have his opinion but that does not mean I am bound by those opinions. I am bound by what is written down in the Constitution and as it has been interpreted by different courts — high courts and the Supreme Court,” he said in response.
Roy also slammed Twitter for not “verifying” his profile on the micro-blogging site and added that the platform showed “bias” in verifying profiles.