Author Arundhati Roy defends Kashmir statements

Arundhati Roy says she had only been calling for "justice" for the region.


Afp October 26, 2010
Author Arundhati Roy defends Kashmir statements

NEW DELHI: Indian author Arundhati Roy, facing possible sedition charges over remarks she made about disputed Indian Kashmir, said on Tuesday she had only been calling for "justice" for the region.

Roy's statement came after police in New Delhi said they were weighing whether to bring sedition charges against the Booker prize-winning author over comments she made about Kashmir in recent days.

The author of the novel "The God of Small Things" issued a statement Tuesday saying her remarks urging "azadi" or freedom for Kashmir were "fundamentally a call for justice."

The region has been beset by violence, curfews and strikes since early June, when a 17-year-old student was killed by a police teargas shell. Since then, a total of 111 protesters and bystanders have died.

"What I say comes from love and pride. It comes from not wanting people to be killed, raped, imprisoned or have their finger-nails pulled out in order to force them to say they are Indians," she said in an emailed statement.

Arundhati, who has emerged in recent years as a prominent social activist, has spoken out on two occasions in recent days on Kashmir.

The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has objected strongly to Roy's remarks, calling them "seditious" and accusing the Congress-led government of "looking the other way" by not taking any legal action against Roy.

Law Minister Veerappa Moily said the comments were "most unfortunate". While there is freedom of speech, "it can't violate the patriotic sentiments of the people," Moily said, according to the Press Trust of India.

Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan each hold part of Kashmir but claim it in full. India insists that Kashmir is an "integral part" of the country.

The Himalayan region, which has triggered two wars between the nuclear-armed neighbours, has been wracked by a militant insurgency against Indian rule since 1989.

Rebel violence has declined sharply since the start of a peace process between India and Pakistan.

COMMENTS (9)

Raj | 13 years ago | Reply Dear All, i appreciate the statment of Ms. Roy. Althu she is a woman but she is acting like soldier. India is not doing good with Kashmiries people. Everyone has right to express his/her feelings. As a human being, we can feel the pain of kashmiries and violence as well. Govt. of India should positively think about them otherwise more voice may be expected from all over the india like Ms. Roy. Well done Ms. Roy. Please keep it up. regards Raj New Dehli
Ali Sina | 13 years ago | Reply She is lucky to be openly saying and writing what she is in India. If she was a Chinese dissenter and had called for Tibet's independence, she would be rounded up and quickly thrown into prison, and maybe avoid broken bones, with some luck on her side.
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