Arif Shafi Wani from Srinagar

From Greater Kashmir: “Arundhati Roy: Kashmir not integral part of India

Reiterating that Kashmir was not an integral part of India, noted writer and Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy Sunday accused India of launching “a protracted war” to suppress the ongoing movement in Kashmir by its military might. She said it was high time for Kashmiris to set goals for Azadi and achieve them systematically.

“I believe Kashmir is not an integral part of India. It is a historical fact,” Roy said at a seminar titled ‘Whither Kashmir? Freedom or Enslavement’ organised by the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society here. “By describing the pro-freedom leaders in the Valley as separatists, India in a sense has already acknowledged that secession has taken place,” she added.

Roy who has been vociferously advocating the cause of Maoists and Kashmiris minced no words in accusing India of waging war against minorities. “In Nagaland, the troopers have been targeting Adivasis, in Telangana Dalits and in Punjab, they target Sikhs. India is an upper caste Hindu state that is certainly at war with minorities. It has waged a protracted war in Nagaland and Kashmir to force inclusion of people into its system,” she said.

Maintaining that the ongoing movement has highlighted the aspirations of Kashmiris, Roy underscored the need for initiating a debate on Azadi. “Resistance is a beautiful thing. It is high time for Kashmiris to set goals for Azadi and steer the movement,” she said.

However, she cautioned that there is an elite section in Kashmir which is allowing the oppression. “Your struggle has raised the consciousness about Kashmir dispute and the oppression you face. But you must decide what type of society you have in mind once you are allowed to decide your future,” she said.

Elaborating she said imperial colonialism is fast being replaced by corporate colonialism. “Kashmiris will have to make a choice whether or not they want the Indian oppression to be replaced by a future corporate oppression of the local masses,” she said.

Roy stated that Kashmiris recruited in the army and paramilitary forces are being used to suppress the voices of dissent in the Northeast and other states. “I was heart broken when I saw Kashmiri BSF personnel in Dantewada. Mothers in Nagaland recalled their kins who were posted in army and other security agencies. I urge Kashmiris to ensure that they are not used to as tools of suppression,” she said.

Hailing the role of Kashmiri women in the ongoing movement, Roy asked them to contribute to the struggle in one way or the other. “Kashmiris have been breathing and inhaling through the barrel of AK 47.”

Terming India as a prison with many nationalities, Roy said attempts are being made to implement the policy of divide and rule. “After attaining freedom from the British, India itself has become a colonial power. It has left the legacy of partition in the shape of Kashmir. India opened the locks of two issues including Babri Masjid and tried to give it Islamist colour to act like a victim. The Home Minister, P Chidambaram has been maintaining that he wants to see 80 percent people of India who live in villages to shift to cities. They want to divide and rule. It can only happen with the help of Army,” she said.

Roy said during her visit to southern India state, she asked her a friend to show her the grave of a Dalit who was killed in Kashmir. “An SP accompanied us and showed the grave in a garbage dump. He said the people did not allow the body to be carried in front of their homes saying it will pollute them. One should not have any expectation from a country whose Prime Minister has not been ever elected,” she said.”

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