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India’s most famous novelist enjoys more international credibility than India’s government or military. Her analysis on India’s occupation of Kashmir has exposed what the Indian military, politicians and media have been hiding for decades: the collective Indian crimes against Kashmiris.
BY THE NATION | Tuesday, 26 October 2010 | The Nation
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Known for her objective and unbiased approach to issues that concern human existence and for upholding the cause of the oppressed, India’s noted writer, Booker Prize winner and human rights activist Arundhati Roy has, in a few words, not only demolished New Delhi’s contention that Kashmir is its integral part, but also castigated it for replacing ‘British imperialism with Indian colonialism’.
Speaking at a seminar, “Whither Kashmir: Freedom and Enslavement”, held in Srinagar on Sunday, she said, “It is a historical fact” that “Kashmir has never been an integral part of India.” And with the courage of conviction that not many in India would display, especially when it comes to movements against Indian oppression and for freedom, she lashed out against her own country’s policy of oppressing “the people of diverse culture” and praised the Kashmiri struggle for increasing “consciousness in India about the oppression you face, but you must decide what type of society you have in mind once you are allowed to decide your future.” And for solution of the problem, she referred to the only right and proper way: the right of self-determination.
Should one hope that Roy’s outspoken espousal of the Kashmiris’ cause would reverberate in the political and intellectual circles of the country long and forcefully enough for its leadership to make a turnaround of its position on the disputed state? For that would pave the way for durable peace in the subcontinent and accelerate the process of development in both Pakistan and India, as well as other countries in the region.
That Pakistan cannot be kept out of the equation is stressed by Dileep Padgaonkar, the head of India’s panel of interlocutors for Held Kashmir, who did not mince his words about the need to involve Pakistan to find a solution to achieve lasting peace there. Hurriyet Conference leaders have rightly boycotted and declined to have any talks with the panel. Whatever Mr Padgaonkar might have had in mind about our involvement and, notwithstanding that his remark has raised BJP’s hackles, Islamabad’s participation is indispensable. It is for our leaders to press home the point, and while bringing in the US for exercising pressure on India, should firmly adhere to our principled stand of a solution as envisaged in relevant UN resolutions.
There should be no role for any power, more particularly the US, India’s strategic ally, as a mediator. Not only should President Obama be reminded of his assessment of the issue, but also Islamabad should utilize its key position in untying the Afghanistan knot and ensuring an American exit from the scene to convince Washington about the imperative nature of an equitable solution, if the menace of terrorism is to be eliminated from the region.
Arundhati Roy is an Indian Nobel laureate opposed to her country’s occupation of Kashmir. This editorial was originally published by The Nation. Arundhati Roy is an Indian Nobel laureate opposed to her country’s occupation of Kashmir.
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