Thursday, October 28, 2010

Arundhati Roy: Kashmir Interview

By Arundhati Roy, ZNet, Oct 28, 2010
Source: DN!

AMY GOODMAN: We turn to the award-winning Indian author Arundhati Roy, facing possible arrest in Indian on sedition charges after recent comments she made about Kashmir.

Earlier today, an Indian politician from the right-wing BJP party filed a written complaint against Roy after she publicly advocated for Kashmir independence and challenged India’s claim that Kashmir is a, quote, “integral part of India.” The area of Kashmir has been at the center of a decades-long dispute between India and Pakistan. Arundhati Roy made the comment at a conference organized to call on India to formally admit that Kashmir is an internationally recognized dispute. If charged and convicted of sedition, Arundhati Roy could face up to life in prison.

On Tuesday, she defended her statements made at the conference. She wrote, quote, “I said what millions of people here say every day…I spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world.”

Roy went on to write, quote, “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.”

Well, last month, I had a chance to interview the author of The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy, about Kashmir. We spoke in London. She began by describing how Kashmir is the unfinished business of the partition of India in 1947.

ARUNDHATI ROY: Since the 1990s, which is when—you know, at the same time that the war in Afghanistan, the American one, its jihad in Afghanistan, and India realigned itself and became, you know, what it is now, sort of completely aligned with the US. And, you know, the whole problem in Kashmir, the militant armed struggle for independence—I mean, there was always a struggle for independence. It’s not independence. It’s not ever been really a part of India, which is why it’s ridiculous for the Indian government to keep saying it’s an integral part of India. But that armed struggle claimed the lives of 68,000 people, because India today has 500,000 troops manning that little valley. It’s the highest, most militarized zone in the world.

India has done everything wrong there. Apart from a military occupation, it has completely rigged elections. It has changed that valley into a little sort of puddle, a little pool of spies and informers and intelligence networks and torture chambers. And today, you know, it’s come to a stage where people have just had enough. Now you don’t even know who the rulers are—I mean, who the leaders of the uprising are, because it’s just people who cannot take it anymore. But the government still is quite busy trying to manage the crisis. You know, there’s are all sorts of shady things going on. Cleaning mobs are setting business—buildings on fire, when it does look very much as though the intelligence agencies are doing that themselves in order to, you know, paint—once again paint this uprising in a different light.

Continues >>
Post a Comment