Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy sparked a controversy on February 19 by supporting a call to “boycott everything Kashmiri” and stop visiting Kashmir and the Amarnath shrine for two years.
Roy’s comment came in the wake of the February 14 terror attack by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Roy cited a retired colonel, without disclosing his identity, and wrote on Twitter that he is “inclined to agree” that Kashmiri traders be boycotted.
In his tweet, Roy said: “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 tweet drew a sharp reaction from former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who said that people like Roy want Kashmir but without Kashmiris.
Abdullah also called Roy among “bigots driving Kashmir over the abyss,” and asked him, “while you are at it Tathagata, why don’t you stop using our rivers to generate your electricity as well?”
Roy’s comment also drew flak from social media users, with many questioning his call to boycott an Indian state.
Following the criticism, Roy said: “Vociferously violent reactions from media and several others to my 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.”