By Manasi Nene
Paresh Rawal, who made headlines for commenting that author Arundhati Roy needed to be tied to a jeep, and pelted with stones — a response to Major Nitin Gogoi tying Farroq Ahmed Dar, a Kashmiri man, to his jeep in Srinagar and using him as a human shield — is now back with a reply. Roy hadn’t said anything about the issue, but Rawal decided it was a good idea to talk to his Twitter followers anyway.
After he was made to delete the tweet, Rawal says that “if you [Roy] have freedom of expression then even I have it”. He even accused Roy of playing the “woman card” after he made his comments about tying her to the jeep. Ah, the quintessential “woman card” — given the number of times this statement has been hurled at women, we’re left wondering if such a card is missing from the playing deck. Or will such a card help us with frequent flyer miles? Then sign us up!
But hold on, as this isn’t the craziest remark Rawal made though. He even said that his “message” was that of peace. “Even if hypothetically Arundhati was tied, no one would have pelted stones as she is their well wisher, she endorses the ideology. I have rather passed on a message of peace… Who will beat her up? So there is no violence.”
Roy’s stance on marginalised communities and conflict areas has always been one of sympathy; Rawal’s stance on Roy has been one of violence. Advocating for free speech isn’t the same as advocating for hate speech though. Roy’s own reaction to the original tweet was just that so much violence has already been digested, that it is “hard to be moral”. Amen.