New Delhi: Actor Payal Rohatgi is not one to mince words. From the much-talked-about Rafale deal to the recent Pulwama terror attacks, Rohatgi has used her social media handles to give an honest take about burning incidents in the country.

However, her recent tweet about Article 370 seems to have landed her in the midst of a nasty Twitter spat with another Bigg Boss contestant, Gauhar Khan. Rohatgi told MyNation, "I am a computer engineer, an actor and a yogi but I am not a lawyer. But when I don’t know the legalities, I just wrote as a layman on my social media platform that if we cannot remove Article 370 and because of that if we cannot have growth and development in Kashmir because Article 35(a) is a part of it, and if we cannot rehabilitate Kashmiri Pundits, it’s only fair that we rehabilitate the Kashmiri Muslims in other Indian cities till we figure out what to do. This is not like a Rohingya Muslims situation where they don’t even have citizenship, Kashmiri Muslims are Indian citizens."

Article 370 of the Indian constitution gives the terror-ridden state of Jammu and Kashmir an autonomous status. And so does Article 35A that empowers the state's legislature to define “permanent resident” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to them. 

Rohatgi's tweet seemed to have incited Khan to make a communal comment about how the Muslims living in the residential complex where Rohtagi lives 'tolerate a bigoted person like u'. Rohatgi says, "My tweet about Article 370 had nothing to do with her and calling me a ‘communal bigot’ is completely unfair. First of all, you are revealing my personal information on a public platform, secondly, you are calling me a communal bigot for finding a solution to terrorism. And, If I am a communal bigot then she is a jihadi, who supports terrorism in the name of religion. And, because she has this mentality she expects the Muslims in my building to be Jihadis like her."

Also read: What is Article 35A and how Nehru got the devil in Kashmir through backdoor

Payal went a step further and unearthed an article published in Bombay Times in 2015 by journalist Neha Maheshwari to support her claims. The article reportedly quoted Khan's ex-boyfriend, with whom she made national headlines on Bigg Boss, as saying that the couple broke up only because Gauhar wanted him to convert to Islam. Adding further fuel to the fire, the ex-boyfriend took to his social media to entirely refute the entire interview and termed Rohatgi a liar. 

This led to a war of words that has not been covered fairly by the media, according to Rohatgi and turned the whole issue into a spectacle rather than a discourse about terrorism in J&K. She says, "The mainstream media wants to carry on with the love narrative and aman ki aasha nonsense. This is what happens when somebody stands up and says, ’Enough’. They term it as Hindu terror. Just because Gauhar Khan is a Muslim and I am a Hindu, and now, they have got the version of her Hindu ex-boyfriend, they want to portray him as a hero. He is just a joke and media is just promoting him instead of asking him whether he is a liar or that journalist? If you are an unbiased media platform put everything out and let the people decide. How can you feed people one-sided information? If you want to report about Payal-Gauhar spat, then present both the sides equally."

Interestingly, she also uncovered another news report about a junior artist hired by Khan to slap her while hosting a reality show. The report had made headlines in 2015 when the accused opened up about his side of the story to an entertainment portal. Rohatgi claims that she has simply shown Khan the mirror with the facts already available on public platforms. "That’s why I called her a product of Love Jihad. I just stated facts that are out there and unlike her, I did not reveal personal information. Just because she is not in news and doesn’t know anything about Article 370, she tried taking me down on a public platform by calling me a communal bigot when she herself is a Love Jihadi in her own relationship," says Payal, adding, "She is a hypocrite who plays the feminist, woman card when she wants things done her way. And, once she gets her way she will use the strong, fearless female card. She just likes to play the victim both ways."   

Now, turning back the narrative to what she originally stated, Article 370, she points out that the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pundits is a topic that everyone must speak about. "I am standing by the fact that Article 370 needs to be removed but as I said, I am not a lawyer and I don’t know the legalities. Even if not that, Article 35A has to be removed for Jammu & Kashmir to function as a normal city. Nobody has rehabilitated the Kashmiri Pundits till now. The genocide happened in 1990 and it is 2019 now. That itself is an indicator that previous governments were working towards making Jammu & Kashmir an Islamic nation. I didn’t even know about the genocide till the recent government but nobody even talked about it," she says. 

Also read: Kashmiri Pandits' exile: 7 centuries of injustice, 1 millennium of unhealed wounds