New Delhi: The demand to sack Tathagata Roy as the governor of Meghalaya governor is gathering steam. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Wednesday demanded Roy’s sacking after he made a polarising statement on Twitter, attacking Kashmiris.
Roy, who was previously the president of BJP’s Bengal state unit, has often landed himself in trouble for making controversial statements on social media. When tensions were high after the Pulwama attack, he lost no time to call a complete boycott of Kashmir and Kashmiris residing in other parts of India.
“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 (sic),” Roy tweeted.
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
He has since faced severe criticism for misusing a constitutional office to polarise the society.
The CPI(M) polit bureau released a statement demanding his immediate removal.
“Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy, in yet another outrageous statement, has endorsed a call for boycott of Kashmir and Kashmiris in the wake of the Pulwama tragedy. This comes at a time when Kashmiris, particularly students, in various parts of the country are being attacked, tormented and forced to leave,” the party said.
“The Governor holds a Constitutional office. As the representative of the President of India, he is expected to act as the custodian of the Indian Constitution. This is not the first time he has made public comments which disgrace the post he holds and violate the fundamentals of the Indian Constitution. This is a transgression that is unacceptable. The President of India must immediately sack him,” it added.
Earlier, the National Conference leader Omar Abdullah called him a “bigot”.
These are the bigots driving Kashmir over the abyss. While you are at it Tathagata why don’t you stop using our rivers to generate your electricity as well? https://t.co/BS1zAG78Xx
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) February 19, 2019
Similarly, Mehbooba Mufti, former Peoples Democratic Party chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, demanded his 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. https://t.co/AQE0e1akUH
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) February 19, 2019
He has also been at the receiving end of widespread criticism on social media.
However Roy defended himself by saying that his comments adovcated a new way to tackle insurgency in the valley. In another tweet, he claimed his suggestion was a”non-violent” reaction to the “killing of our soldiers”.
This is not the first time he has ignored his gubernatorial chair while commenting on contemporary political events. He has, in fact, made sure to cement his image as a Hindu nationalist affiliated to the Sangh parivar.
The Wire has previously reported on a series of divisive and sectarian comments made by Roy when he was the governor of Tripura.
In March 2018, after the BJP seized power from the Left Front government in Tripura, a statue of Soviet leader Lenin was razed by BJP supporters. While posting a picture of the act, he tweeted, “What one democratically elected government can do another democratically elected government can undo. And vice versa.”
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!
— Tathagata Roy (@tathagata2) June 18, 2017
Even in the aftermath of the Pathankot attack in September 2016, Roy used a particularly vengeful tone. “I seriously suggest Russian treatment to terrorists’ carcasses. Wrap them in pigskin, bury them face down in pig excreta. No chance of Houris,” thus read his tweet, which he soon deleted.
His tryst with controversy began in 2015, when he commented on the “fighting” spirit of the Hindus, “One exception was Gujarat, 2002. I’m glad you appreciate what the Hindus did then.”
The same year, he urged the intelligence agencies to “keep a tab” on all those who attended the funeral of 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon. “Intelligence shd keep a tab on all (except relatives and close friends) who assembled for Yakub Memon’s corpse. Many are potential terrorists (sic),” Roy tweeted.