Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy on Tuesday tweeted in support of a demand for a boycott of “everything Kashmiri” following the Pulwama attack. At least 40 Central Reserve Police Force jawans were killed in a suicide bomb attack in Pulwama on February 14.
“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 wrote, quoting from an “appeal” by a retired Army officer. He said he was “inclined to agree”.
Roy, who has in the past been a senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader, describes himself on Twitter as a “right-wing Hindu socio-political thinker, writer, ideologue”.
Roy also appeared to endorse violence against Kashmiri youth. “The Pakistan Army [who are handling the Kashmiri separatists] was among their own in East Pakistan in 1971,” he said in response to a retired Army officer who suggested that Indian troops should show less restraint in Kashmir.
“They [Pakistan Army in present-day Bangladesh in 1971] slaughtered and raped right and left,” Roy said. “And they would have kept East Pakistan but for the whacking from India. I am not suggesting that we go that far. But at least some distance?”
Roy 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.”
Later, Roy tried to justify his endorsement of a boycott of Kashmir. Roy emphasised that he was simply endorsing what an Army officer had said. “Vociferously violent reactions from media and several others to my ECHOING OF a suggestion from a retired army colonel,” he said. “A purely NON-VIOLENT REACTION to the killing of our soldiers by the hundreds and the driving out of 3.5 lakh Kashmiri Pandits.”
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti demanded that the Centre sack the Meghalaya governor immediately. “Deplorable statement coming from the governor of Meghalaya [to boycott Kashmiris],” she tweeted. “Government of India 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.”