Writer Arundhati Roy defended her recent statement calling for Kashmir’s independence from India, saying, “I have said what millions of people in Kashmir say every day and several commentators have written and said for years”.
Roy’s statement on Tuesday came against the backdrop of the central government considering action against her and hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani under charges of sedition after they demanded freedom for Kashmir at a recent seminar in New Delhi.
Roy had called for Kashmir’s independence in a speech in Kashmir.
In an apparent reference to media reports that she may soon be arrested on charges of sedition, the writer said, “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.”
Roy, who is currently in Kashmir, said, “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,” she said.