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Tripura governor stokes controversy with remarks on Memon

Source: PTI
July 31, 2015 19:41 IST
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People gather at Mahim, Mumbai for the prayers and the funeral of Yakub Memon. Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani/

Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy on Friday kicked up a controversy with his remark that many of the people present at the funeral of Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon after he was hanged are “potential terrorists”, sparking outrage.

The remark on Twitter by 70-year-old Roy, a former chief of Bharatiya Janata Party’s West Bengal unit, was condemned by Trinamool Congress and Communist Party of India-Marxist, which reminded him that he is occupying a constitutional position. TMC leader and West Bengal minister Subrata Mukherjee demanded that the governor be removed.

There was sharp criticism on the social media too with one tweet saying Roy has “betrayed” constitutional values with one single tweet.

Yakub, the lone death row convict in the Mumbai blasts case, was hanged in Nagpur Central Prison on Thursday and his body brought to Mumbai where he was buried at the Bada Khabristan graveyard in the evening.

“Intelligence should keep a tab on all (except relatives and friends) who assembled before Memon’s corpse. Many are potential terrorists,” Roy tweeted.

Later, Roy while responding to questions said that he has excluded Memon’s relatives and friends. “Why did others come to see a man who was hanged. They must have sympathy for him.”

In another tweet, the governor said, “It is my constitutional duty to bring matter of public interests to public notice. My position as governor is not thereby compromised.”

Facing criticism that he appeared to target a particular community, Roy defended his tweet with another post, “When I suggested intelligence keeping a tab, I mentioned no community.”    

“I’m sure many of my detractors are discovering I didn’t say what they thought I said -- like targeting any community. So they have to bluster,” he tweeted.

“Oh, what an explosion! I am gratified! But consider seriously: 1.Did I talk about any community? 2. Did I ask for action or just keeping tabs?” he added.

Roy posted another tweet, “An explosion of tweets on a hanged terrorist almost made me forget the most important tweet: Guru Purnima greetings to all.”

Roy, who was appointed as governor in May, had previously posted controversial tweets on Gujarat riots and ‘love jihad’.

Criticising Roy, former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said he occupies a constitutional post and his comments were not in line with the Constitution.

“He should not have resorted to Twitter if he wants to give any advise to the government. He could have told the chief minister (of the state) or he could have sent a message to him,” Chatterjee said.

Subrata Mukherjee said Roy should remember that he is occupying a constitutional position.

“He should be immediately dropped without any further delay. I am saying this as a citizen of the country,” he added.

Mukherjee’s party colleague Derek O’Brien in a tweet said, “A governor must speak like a governor and behave like a governor”. 

Image (above): Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy created a stir with his tweets on Yakub Memon.

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