The BJP on Thursday distanced itself from Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy’s remarks suggesting the boycott of Kashmir and Kashmiris in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack and said the party did not agree with his views.
While speaking to reporters in the national capital, Union Minister and senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “I don’t agree with his tweet. Matter ends there.”
Prasad’s reaction came a day after Roy supported a retired Army officer’s suggestion to boycott Kashmir and Kashmiris economically. “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,” the Meghalaya Governor had posted on Twitter.
His remarks drew sharp criticism from opposition leaders like former Union minister P Chidambaram and former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.
Referring to the Statue of Unity, the 182-metre statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel built near Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat, Chidambaram took a dig at Roy saying, “The Statue of Unity watches over the Governor of Meghalaya and others who seem to think that Kashmiris have no place in India.”
Abdullah had said: “People like Tathagata want Kashmir but without Kashmiris. They’d sooner see us driven into the sea. He’ll be best placed to know he can’t have one without the other so what’s it to be?”
Mufti demanded Roy’s immediate removal. “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,” she said.
Forty CRPF jawans were killed after a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into a convoy in Pulwama on February 14. Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad had claimed responsibility for the attack.