Tathagata Roy

West Bengal, 21st November: A meme shared by former Meghalaya Governor and senior West Bengal Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Tathagata Roy on a social networking site sparked serious controversy over the status of Hindus living in West Bengal.

The issue triggered netizens to engage in a raging debate, with just five months left ahead of the state assembly polls.

The meme shared by the senior politician, read: “A child and his father, refugees from West Bengal in 2050, in Bengali Hindu refugee colony in Jharkhand. The child asks what they had left back, how his aunt was picked up by ‘them’ and killed. Father says: Karim chacha (uncle) was very kind; He was crying when he saw us off at the border. The little boy asked: Then why did my grandmother say that they picked up my aunt and killed her?”

The controversial post of Roy reminded of the atrocities against Hindus in neighboring Bangladesh when thousands of Bengali-speaking people were brutally killed in the hands of Muslims in undivided Bangladesh, then known as East Pakistan.

“Yesterday I tweeted a meme of a Bengali Hindu father and son in 2050, forced to leave Muslim-dominated West Bengal. Some called me mad. Ask any Hindu who lived in Dhaka or Barisal in the 1930s. If u told them then that you will have to leave your home in 10-15 years, they would have laughed at you,” Tathagata Roy tweeted on Friday.

Roy’s post was retweeted by various members of the Twitterati who supported him for championing the cause of the Hindus in West Bengal.

“They laughed at the minority complex of the majority in Central Asia, Khurasan, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey (Asia Minor) of today. Buddhism, Saivism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Yezidis, Pagans vanished like a hare’s horn after a few beheadings. God saved India till now,” tweeted Anand Kumar.

Always accepted by the educated middle-class Bengalis for his erudite nature and intellectual refinement, Tathagata Roy was the state BJP president between 2002 and 2006 and also a member of the BJP’s national executive committee from 2002 to 2015. Later, he was appointed as the governor of Tripura in May 2015. In August 2018, he took over as the governor of Meghalaya.

Amid political speculations on who would become BJP’s face in Bengal for the upcoming assembly elections, Roy’s comeback definitely stands out as the most significant one. He had also met state BJP president Dilip Ghosh and other central leaders like Kailash Vijayvargiyaji upon his return.

He has been a senior BJP leader for a pretty long time and has held many important posts in the past. Being a Hindu leader he has always been vocal about various issues on social media which drew a substantial fan-following for him nationally. Being a senior member Roy knows a lot of people in the saffron fold.

According to the 2011 Census of India, West Bengal has over 24.6 million Bengali Muslims who form 27.01 percent of the state’s population.

Bengali Muslims form the majority of the population mainly in districts. Their population in the state, before 1947, was around 30 percent and during the time of independence, it went down to just 18 percent.

After the Partition of Bengal in 1947, the majority of Bengali Muslims from West Bengal had migrated to East Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh). Estimates show that nearly 15, 34,718 Bengali Muslims had left Bengal permanently for East Pakistan during 1947-1951.