BJP Falters in Face Tathagata Roy’s anti-Kashmiri Remarksby Opinion Express February 23, 2019 0 comments
The nation is now accustomed to witnessing directives from the Supreme Court on what should have been an easy enough executive function of the State, protecting the rights of its citizens, majority or minority. So though the Home Ministry issued a directive to secure Kashmiris following the hitbacks of rage and hate post-Pulwama, the failure of implementing it was evident from a series of attacks and slurs on Kashmiri students and traders across the country. One that led to a PIL and the top court telling the government how it is done. It directed chief secretaries and DGPs of 11 States, where the hate-mongering was severe, to take “prompt” action to prevent incidents of threat, assault and social boycott of Kashmiris and specifically assigned police officers, who were earlier appointed as nodal officers to deal with incidents of mob lynching, to look after affected Kashmiris.
The question is whether the current NDA government could not have done this on its own? The question also is if the government, seeking a second term in general elections just weeks away, doesn’t want to be seen as sabka saath? Or does it want to pander to the majoritarian discourse and play up the hyper-nationalist narrative following the biggest terrorist attack in the Valley? Everybody is angry about this gross brutality but to ostracise an entire community of people just because it had been blighted by some indoctrinated militants is to simplify the problem to suit a certain narrative than deal with the complexities of it. Clearly, the government of the day has not helped douse inflamed passions or emotions by playing down the extent of hate crimes, even by way of an appeal by one of the Ministers. What is inexcusable is its staunch refusal to upbraid the Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy, who has been fanning hatred by calling for a boycott of Kashmiri goods and people on his social media handle, implicitly turning Indians versus Indians though he believes Kashmiris are not worth being called that. Neither has the top leadership of the BJP asked him to issue an apology or delete his tweet, except distancing itself from his remarks. Strangely, there is no talk of recalling the Governor for acting contrary to his Constitutional duties. And while President Ram Nath Kovind is bound to act on the advice of his Council of Ministers, fact is there is no statement or action by his office to condemn the fissiparous comments. For a chair that was once held by luminaries, at least there could have been a moral censure, displeasure or conscience call. That he is allowed to make in keeping with the spirit of the Constitution. By allowing the Meghalaya Governor to go scot free despite his abusive statements, he too would be seen as failing in executing his constitutional duties. Roy’s comments clearly fall within the ambit of the legal principle of “compelling reasons” to initiate action against him for going against the spirit embedded in our Preamble and clearly violating the principles of liberty, equality, fraternity and justice. Can we afford to alienate Kashmiris further when counter-insurgency should be matched by a counter-social engagement? Evacuating them from other Indian states, where they have gone to better their lives away from militancy through education and jobs, is like pouring cold water on mainstreaming efforts. By failing to act against Roy, the government seems to be giving a tacit approval to sick polarisation attempts simply because they can cause an emotional wave during the elections. The BJP may want to keep him as a party member but he sure should not be Governor anymore.
Courtesy & Writer: Pioneer