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 certi in fact is a regret letter from maternity ward.’ This was reportedly in response to Roy’s having said 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. However, such reports were based on those on Pakistani websites and a later report quotes sources saying she has not been to Kashmir for many years.
After Rawal’s tweet on May 21, in reply to a tweet responding to him saying, ‘If Arundhati Roy is not available @sagarikaghose is always available,’ he went on to suggest ‘we have a wide variety of choices’. Sagarika Ghose is an Indian journalist and author.
Speaking to the The Indian Express, Rawal has said after these tweets, ‘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 condemns such statements from a Member of Parliament as they contravene the principles of free speech and run the risk of inciting violence against writers whose views one may or may not be in agreement with. Further, it is incumbent upon Members of Parliament to stand by the principles of the Constitution of India to which they have sworn allegiance and which protects the rights of every citizen to her beliefs and values.