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Arundhati Roy, in articulating the sentiments of the people of Kashmir valley, has said nothing offensive or seditious. It is unfortunate the sections of the media reported only selective parts of her speech to sensationalise what she said. It is also unfortunate and condemnable the attempts by some political parties to seek strong action against her on the basis of these reports. Read more
It is reported by people who were present at the program that Arundhati Roy, while endorsing the demand of Azaadi for Kashmir, reminded the audience of the need for the people of Kashmir not to be selective about justice and injustice, that they must find methods to forge webs of solidarity with all the suffering and oppressed peoples of India. She also spoke unambiguously about the fact that she considered the situation of Kashmiri Pandits to be a tragedy.
Even members of the all party delegation to the valley a few weeks back reported that what Arundhati said was only an echo of the aspirations of the Kashmir people. As a public intellectual, she has the liberty to air her views and silencing such voices would be a threat to the democratic fabric of this country. It is unfortunate that the concept of nation and nationalism seem to be so fragile to some politicians that it starts tumbling when somebody talks differently about it.
We strongly deplore the threats issued to Arundhati Roy by Bajrang Dal and appeal to all sections of the population to isolate such elements.
We support the process initiated by the interlocutors in the valley for a dialogue with all sections of the population. However, we strongly feel that the dialogue cannot be done in a vacuum and disassociate itself from what has been happening in the valley past. A conducive atmosphere needs to be created to win the confidence of the people and to establish the genuine intentions of the government.
At the very least, the government should repeal the draconian laws; release political detainees and prisoners; withdraw disproportionate presence of the armed forces and punish those guilty of taking life in the past few months and start a political dialogue to resolve the current situation.
Medha Patkar, Sandeep Pandey, Anand Mazgaonkar, Vimal Bhai, Rajendra Ravi, Mukta Srivastava, Sister Celia, Ramakrishna Raju, Madhuresh Kumar
National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM)