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; for the Indian poor who pay the price of this occupation in
material ways and who are now learning to live in the terror of what is
becoming a police state.
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
who had lost hope that they would ever get ‘insaf’—justice—from India, and
now believed that Azadi—freedom— was their only hope. I met young stone
pelters who had been shot through their eyes. I traveled with a young man
who told me how three of his friends, teenagers in Anantnag district, had
been taken into custody and had their finger-nails pulled out as
punishment for throwing stones.
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 or have
their finger-nails pulled out in order to force them to say they are
Indians. 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.
Arundhati Roy
October 26 2010

In Unity and Struggle,








%d bloggers like this: