‘Kashmir has never been an integral part of India’ Arundhati Roy reasserts

October 28, 2010

Srinagar : Author Arundhati Roy, who has stirred up a sedition controversy with her remarks on Kashmir – ‘Kashmir was never an integral part of India‘ – has now reiterated that her words echo what “millions of people say (in Kashmir) every day”.

In a statement from Srinagar, she said: “I write this from Srinagar, Kashmir. This morning’s papers say that I may be arrested on charges of sedition for what I have said at recent public meetings on Kashmir. I said what millions of people here say every day.

I said what I, as well as other commentators have written and said for years. Anybody who cares to read the transcripts of my speeches will see that they were fundamentally a call for justice. I spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world; for Kashmiri Pandits who live out the tragedy of having been driven out of their homeland; for Dalit soldiers killed in Kashmir whose graves I visited on garbage heaps in their villages in Cuddalore…

Yesterday, I traveled to Shopian, the apple-town in South Kashmir which had remained closed for 47 days last year in protest against the brutal rape and murder of Asiya and Nilofer, the young women whose bodies were found in a shallow stream near their homes and whose murderers have still not been brought to justice. I met Shakeel, who is Nilofer’s husband and Asiya’s brother. We sat in a circle of people crazed with grief and anger…

In the papers some have accused me of giving ‘hate-speeches’, of wanting India to break up. On the contrary, what I say comes from love and pride. It comes from not wanting people to be killed, raped, imprisoned… It comes from wanting to live in a society that is striving to be a just one. Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds. Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice, while communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters, looters, rapists, and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free.”

BJP waiting for Centre to take action on Geelani, Arundhati

The Bharatiya Janata Party said on Tuesday it was still waiting for Home Minister P Chidambaram to take action against Kashmiri separatists and Naxal sympathisers for making remarks that “threaten” the constitutional integrity of the country.

“The language used (by separatists at the seminar) certainly threatens the constitutional integrity of the country and the answer given at that time by the Home Minister was that there was a recording available and he would want to see it and that he would take action, if necessary,” BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.

“We are waiting to see what action the Home Minister is going to take,” Sitharaman said.

At the convention on ‘Azadi – The Only Way’ here last week, hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani had shared the stage with writer Arundhati Roy and pro-Maoist leader Vara Vara Rao among others. Geelani was heckled by the audience with one of them throwing a shoe.

The Booker Prize winning author had said, “Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. It is a historical fact.

Even the Indian government has accepted this.”

BJP had taken strong exception to the remarks, saying freedom of speech did not mean the right to demand secession.

It had accused the Centre of “looking the other way” and not taking any legal action.

On Roy’s role in the whole event, Sitharaman maintained that such activists were supporting Naxals and separatists in the name of human rights. Pity the nation that has to silence its writers: Arundhati. Agencies Posted online: Tue Oct 26 2010, 18:42 hrs


One comment

  1. May God keep a million angels over your head.
    We love you Arundhati.

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