BJP MP Paresh Rawal today kicked up a row with his remark that author Arundhati Roy should be tied to an army jeep instead of a stone pelter, a reference to an incident in Kashmir where a civilian was used as a human shield by army recently.
"Instead of tying stone pelter on the army jeep, tie Arundhati Roy (sic)!" the actor-politician tweeted, taking a swipe at the author who has been a trenchant critic of the BJP and the Army action in the Valley.
His tweet drew condemnation from many users on the social media platform with some accusing him of inciting violence.
When a supporter suggested that instead of the Booker Prize winning author, a woman journalist should be treated in a similar manner, Rawal said, "We have a wide variety of choices!"
Congress general secretary Digivijay Singh hit out at the BJP, asking, "Why not (tie) the person who stitched PDP-BJP alliance?"
At the AICC briefing, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the incident validated his claim that disagreement is not accepted in this government and "it has added to my dismal depressing list".
"It shows the mindset which has been, and now that you have raised the question, consistently since 2014 they have an anti-NGOs mindset.
"Jholawala is a term of art now, it is a term of insult as if you are looking down upon somebody," he said.
Union Minister Smriti Irani, however, sought to distance the party from Rawal's tweet, saying "nowhere will we, in any way, support any violent message by anybody, against any individual of the country."
The BJP leader, who was addressing a party press conference, however, added that she had not seen his tweet and any answer she has given will not be fully "correct and knowledgeable".
Many right wing supporters lapped up Rawal's remarks, alleging that Roy was an "anti-national".
Rawal's tweet came against the backdrop of an Army officer's decision to tie a civilian to a jeep's bonnet as a human shield against protesters who were trying to disrupt by-poll to Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency last month.
It was done, according to security officials, to prevent stone-pelters from targeting army. However newspaper reports later said the victim was instead paraded through several villages in this fashion and for several hours, questioning the army claim of 'saving lives.'
The Army has ordered a court of inquiry into the incident.
Major Leetul Gogoi, who had ordered the man to be tied to the jeep's bonnet, was recently honoured with the Army Chief's 'Commendation Card' for his "sustained efforts in countering insurgency in the Kashmir Valley."