In the wake of the recent comment made about author Arundhati Roy, the Delhi unit of PEN has issued a press release condemning the statements made about the author. BJP MP and actor, Paresh Rawal had made the comment about her, in regard to the act of soldiers of the army strapping a citizen to their jeep as a ‘human shield’ against stone pelters in Jammu and Kashmir. Rawal had tweeted, ‘Instead of tying stone pelter on army jeep, tie up Arundhati Roy.’
— pendelhi (@pendelhi) May 23, 2017
Four days before this tweet, Rawal had tweeted of Roy, ‘70 lakh Indian army can’t defeat azadi gang of Kashmir – Arundhati Roy .Her birth certificate, in fact, is a regret letter from the maternity ward.’ This was reportedly in response to Roy, who had said that in Kashmir that even if India increases its military footprint from seven lakh to 70 lakh in Kashmir, it wouldn’t be able to wrest Kashmir where it matters, that is in the hearts and minds of ordinary Kashmiris.
Roy has been involved in human rights and environmental causes. Among the books, she has written are Kashmir: The Case for Freedom and The Hanging of Afzal Guru and the Strange Case of the Attack on the Indian Parliament. Her second novel, to be out soon, is The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.
Rawal in his tweets had said, ‘I know it is harsh. I meant it to be harsh. That’s why I got the desired effect- it has called the attention of the nation to what she (Roy) has been saying and a debate will start now.’
PEN Delhi in its statement said they condemn “such statements from an MP, as they violate the principles of free speech, can incite violence against writers, whose views one may or may not agree with. Further, Members of Parliament are expected to abide by the rules of the Constitution, and should not try to defame any citizen”.