BJP MP Paresh Rawal today kicked up a row with his remark that author Arundhati Roy should be tied to an army jeep instead of a stone pelter, a reference to an incident in Kashmir where a protester was used as a “human shield” by security personnel against a mob. “Instead of tying stone pelter on the army jeep tie Arundhati Roy (sic)!” the actor-politician tweeted, taking a swipe at the author who has been a trenchant critic of the BJP and the Army action in the Valley. His tweet drew condemnation from many users on the social media platform with some accusing him of inciting violence.
When a supporter suggested that instead of the Booker Prize winning author, a woman journalist should be treated in a similar manner, Rawal said, “We have a wide variety of choices!” Congress general secretary Digivijay Singh hit out at the BJP, asking, “Why not (tie) the person who stitched PDP-BJP alliance?” Union Minister Smriti Irani, however, sought to distance the party from Rawal’s tweet, saying “nowhere will we, in any way, support any violent message by anybody, against any individual of the country.”
The BJP leader, who was addressing a party press conference, however, added that she had not seen his tweet and any answer she has given will not be fully “correct and knowledgeable”. Many right wing supporters lapped up Rawal’s remarks, alleging that Roy was an “anti-national”.
Rawal’s tweet came against the backdrop of an Army officer’s decision to tie an alleged stone pelter to a jeep’s bonnet as a human shield against violent protesters who were trying to disrupt bypoll to Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency last month. It was done, according to security officials, to prevent stone-pelters from targeting soldiers. The Army had ordered a court of inquiry into the incident.