Shillong: Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy’s tweet supporting a ban on Kashmiri goods has sparked an outrage across the hill state.
Roy’s message came in wake of the Pulwama attack in Jammu and Kashmir that killed at least 40 CRPF jawans on February 14.
The Governor wrote on Twitter, “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”.
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.— Tathagata Roy (@tathagata2) February 19, 2019
I am inclined to agree
Roy’s message has been condemned by Shillong-based Kashmiri traders as well as members of the ruling National People's Party (NPP) and United Democratic Party (UDP) that form the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) with the BJP.
“All of us should not suffer for one person’s mistake,” said Saihat, a Kashmiri entrepreneur living in the hill town, in response to the tweet.
“This is democracy and everyone should be treated equally. The attack was led by only one person and doesn’t represent the entire Kashmir. Kashmiris too have condemned the tragedy,” the trader added.
Urging the BJP leader, who is not new to controversy, to treat everyone equally, Saihat said Kashmir is, after all, a part of India.
“We are humans. Treat us as fellow human beings,” said Saihat, adding, “Everyone should not be measured with the same yardstick.”
NPP’s Prestone Tynsong, who is also the deputy chief minister, said, “Democracy calls for taking everybody along. Kashmiris are also Indians. If one person in a family is a thief, should everyone be looked at the same way?”
UDP working president Bindo M Lanong said, “More people should visit Kashmir frequently. If we isolate Kashmir, militants will take over.”
“Kashmir is ours. It is a part of our country,” the UDP leader added.
Sah Mohammad, another Kashmiri residing in Shillong, said, “Kashmiri products should not be banned. Kashmir is a part of India. We don’t consider ourselves outsiders. We want to remain a part of India.”
“If you love us we will love you too. We want to live peacefully,” he said.