Defending author Arundhati Roy over her remarks on Jammu & Kashmir, activist Medha Patkar said pressing charges of sedition against her would be a wrong move.
Mainstream political parties had criticised Roy’s statement that Jammu & Kashmir was never an integral part of India. “Roy cannot be considered a traitor by any measure. All she has done is to voice her concerns for the nation,” said Patkar.
Saying that Roy was misunderstood, Patkar said, “Being integral doesn’t just mean physically integral with the nation. It also means socially and culturally integral.”
According to Patkar, Roy meant that the valley hadn’t been integrated into the mainstream, as it should have.
The activist also said that Roy’s reference to ‘azaadi’ was misconstrued. “Azaadi, which means freedom, doesn’t always have to be territorially. What Kashmir today wants, which Roy must have meant, is the freedom from violence, freedom from militarisation.”
The Narmada Bachao Andolan activist made her stand on Kashmir clear. She said: “I support a referendum in Kashmir to gauge the aspirations of the locals. I am pretty sure that Kashmiris don’t want to be separated from India. All that the people there want is to live.”
Patkar also made her displeasure against the state’s use of force clear. “The state cannot resort to violence in an attempt to kill violence. A solution has to be found in every troubled part of the country, where there are demands for nationhood,” she said.