Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy on Friday asked those who do not want divisions in a democracy to go to North Korea. Roy appeared to be defending the recent amendments to the Citizenship Act.
“Two things should never be lost sight of in the present atmosphere of controversy,” Roy tweeted. The first thing, according to him, was that the country was once divided in the name of religion, and the second was: “A democracy is NECESSARILY DIVISIVE. If you don’t want it go to North Korea.”
The tweet was posted hours before thousands marched towards the Raj Bhavan in Shillong in protest against the amendments. Police used tear gas shells and baton-charged protestors who were allegedly pelting stones in front of the Raj Bhavan. At least 20 people were reportedly injured in the clashes with the police.
The contentious amendments allows citizenship to persecuted people of six communities – but not Muslims – from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, provided they have resided in India for six years. The cut-off date is December 31, 2014. The amendments were approved by both Houses of Parliament this week and were signed into law by President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday night.
There is a widespread fear in the North East states that populations defined as indigenous to the region will be culturally and physically overrun by migrants as a result of this law’s provisions. Elsewhere in India, the bill has been opposed due to its allegedly discriminatory view towards Muslims.
Roy, a former president of the West Bengal unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party, has often stoked controversy with his tweets. Following the terror attack in Pulwama in February, he had tweeted in support of a demand for a boycott of “everything Kashmiri”.