'Boycott everything Kashmiri,' Tathagata Roy tweets after Pulwama attack, later claims he quoted a retired army colonel
In the aftermath of the Pulwama attack, Meghalaya governor Tathagata Roy courted another controversy, tweeting that 'everything Kashmiri' should be boycotted.
Roy also asked people not to visit Kashmir or visit Amarnath for the next two years
He called an economic shutdown of Kashmir 'collateral damage'
His comments come even as reports arrive of threats being issued to Kashmiri people across the country
No stranger to stirring controversy through social media posts, Meghalaya governor Tathagata Roy tweeted on Tuesday, asking for a blanket boycott of "everything Kashmiri". The tweet was in response to the 14 February attack on a CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama that killed 42 jawans.
Roy also asked people not to visit Kashmir or visit Amarnath for the next two years. The governor's comments come amid reports of threats being issued to Kashmiri people, especially students, in several parts of the country.
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
Soon after stoking controversy with his tweet, Roy tried to clarify in a phone interview with a television channel that he was not advocating for a total economic shutdown of Kashmir. "I have not said boycott everything Kashmiri," Roy told News18, claiming that he had only quoted a "retired colonel of the Indian Army". He then went on to call an economic shutdown of Kashmir "collateral damage".
Roy also said the fact that Kashmiri students are being targeted in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack could be propaganda. "Such things happen all the time. In principle, it is wrong, but it is not as widespread as it is shown to be," he told News18.
Roy also vouched for "distance" in a follow-up tweet. "The Pakistan Army (who are handling the Kashmiri separatists) was among their own in East Pakistan in 1971. They slaughtered and raped right and left. And they would have kept EP but for the whacking from India. I am not suggesting that we go that far. But at least some distance?" he wrote. He also sought to remind people of the British Army's atrocities.
Minutes later he lashed out on Twitter against what he claimed were "vociferously violent reactions from media and several others to (his) ECHOING OF a suggestion from a retired army colonel."
"A purely NON-VIOLENT REACTION to the killing of our soldiers by the hundreds and the driving out of 3.5 lakh Kashmiri Pandits," he tweeted. The capitalisations are his.
Roy is known for his pro-Hindutva views and often takes to social media to air his controversial views. On the 10th anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, Roy had stirred yet another controversy when he claimed that Muslims were not killed in the "Pakistan-sponsored slaughter of innocents".
"The 10th anniversary today of Paki-sponsored slaughter of innocents (except Muslims) at Mumbai, popularly called 26/11. Does anyone remember why we did not even downgrade our diplomatic relations with the Pakis (let alone break off such relations or go to war)?" he had tweeted.
In 2017, the former president of West Bengal BJP had found himself in a bit of a spot about how Syama Prasad Mukherjee, who had founded the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, had said in his diary that "the Hindu-Muslim problem won't be solved without a Civil War". After a backlash on Twitter, Roy soon made a U-turn from his statement, saying that he had had never advocated a civil war between Hindus and Muslims in India but had merely quoted from Mukherjee's diary.
In January 2016, Roy had suggested that the bodies of the terrorists killed in the Pathankot attack be wrapped in pigskin. "I seriously suggest Russian treatment to terrorists' carcasses. Wrap them in pigskin, bury them face down in pig excreta. No chance of Houris," he had said on Twitter.
Other remarks by Roy include calling 1993 Mumbai terror attack convict Yakub Memon's funeral visitors "possible terrorists" and denying that Muslims entering India were refugees as they had "faced no persecution in their home countries".
He was sworn in as the Governor of Tripura in late 2015.