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BackYou are here: AnalysisOpinion Arundhati Roy : 'Kashmir should get Azadi from bhooke-nange Hindustan'

Opinion

Arundhati Roy : 'Kashmir should get Azadi from bhooke-nange Hindustan'

The Pioneer | October 22, 2010 | Deepak K Jha | New Delhi

Kashmir should get Azadi from bhookhe-nange Hindustan,” said Arundhati Roy at a seminar where the Maoists hosted Kashmir secessionist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, which witnessed large scale protests by Kashmiri Pandits. A large number of protesters were detained at the behest of Parliament House attack accused SAR Gilani, who moderated the seminar promoting secession in the heart of the national Capital on Thursday.

The seminar was disrupted many a time when author-activist Arundhati Roy, a known Maoist sympathiser, openly preached secession while expressing her views and urging the audience comprising Kashmiri youth, students from AMU and also from DU to stand up and fight for the cause of a separate Kashmir and to get a fair play in the name of “Idea of Justice”.

India needs Azadi from Kashmir and Kashmir from India. It is a good debate that has started. We must deepen this conversation and am happy that young people are getting involved for this cause which is their future. Indian Government is a hollow super power and I disassociate with it,” Roy said amid great applause from separatists. “Earlier we used to talk about our head held high and now we lay prostrate to the US,” she added. Referring to one of her earlier writings, Roy mentioned that Kashmiris have to decide whether they want to be with or get separated from “bhookhe-nange Hindustan where more than 830 million people live on Rs 20 per day only”.

Espousing the separatist cause, Roy also said that in the early 90s India opened two gates - one for the Babri Masjid issue and the other for the economy. “We ushered in two kinds of totalitarianism. One the Hindu totalitarians and the other economic totalitarian,” she said.

The convention on ‘Azadi — The Only Way’ organised by Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP), was being attended by a number of sympathisers of Kashmiri separatists and Naxalites. The moment Geelani arrived to speak, the protesters numbering around 70 shouted slogans asking him to leave along with those demanding separate Kashmir. Amid pandemonium inside the LTG Auditorium, the protesters shouted slogans like ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram’ several times when various speakers expressed their views and opinions driving towards a separate Kashmir.

At least 50 of the protesters, including those from Roots to Kashmir and Panun Kashmir were detained by the police and released late in the evening. At the time of the protest, SAR Geelani, a lecturer in Delhi University who was accused in the Parliament attack case but later set free, was speaking on the topic. Besides Geelani, other participants in the seminar included writer and activist Arundhati Roy, senior journalist Najeeb Mubaraki, Telangana activist Varvara Rao, president of the CRPP Gursharan Singh (represented by his daughter due to Singh’s ill health), media critic Shuddabrata Sengupta, and separatists from Manipur and Nagaland in the six-hour-long programme.

“This is atrocious. It is happening right in the Capital of the country when a few people are talking to break the secular ethos of the country. We stand for united India. I do not know why the country’s administration is pampering them in the name of Islam. Kashmir belongs to all, including the Kashmiri Pandits and we will do all to safeguard that interest,” said Aditya Raj Kaul, one of the protesters who led a group of young students and professionals condemning the seminar called and moderated by Gilani and a group of Naxal sympathisers.

Emotions erupted and tempers ran high amid a group of Kashmiri Pandits there to listen to the opinion when Roy said that: “I am also aware of the stories about Kashmiri Pandits. I must tell you that Panun Kashmir is a false group”. Taken aback by this statement, 65-year-old Nancy Kaul stood up and questioned the sanctity of Roy’s statement. Kaul was joined by a few others echoing the sentiments of Kashmiri Pandits and other displaced persons from Jammu and Kashmir. Nancy was also attacked by a young person, probably from the north-east who also misbehaved with her and threw the paper material Kaul was carrying with her. “Jis thali mein kha rahey hain usi thali eein ched kar rahey hain yain yes log,” Kaul and others shouted pointing towards Roy and other speakers. The police had to be called again to pacify the small group of protesters and a large group of members advocating Azadi.

While urging Kashmiris to boycott interlocutors, Syed Ali Shah Geelani rejected the eight-point agenda rolled out by the Centre for defusing crisis in the Valley. Though saying that the people of Kashmir are not against any dialogue, the Hurriyat leader said the talks should be on the core issue and Pakistan should also be involved in the discussions. “The dialogue should not be bilateral. India, Pakistan and representatives of people of Jammu and Kashmir should sit together with the reference of sacrifices made by Kashmiris during the last 63 years. Indian Government has to accept our five-point agenda, then only we will initiate talks with interlocutors, otherwise I ask Kashmiris to boycott them,” said the separatist leader.

The hardline leader added that since 1947, 150 such dialogues have been held but without any result, we will not participate in any discussions until our five-point agenda is accepted by India. “Our five points are -- first Indian security forces should be withdrawn from J&K under UN supervision. Political prisoners be released, cases should be registered against the killers of 111 innocent people, who had been killed during the last four months. Remember, we are not against Indian or India, we want the rights to self-determination,” said Geelani.

SAR Geelani, who moderated the session, said the demand of Kashmir Azadi not only meant the Kashmir Valley but the entire Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Muzzafarabad, Baltistan and Mirpur.

Dal Khalsa leader Kanwar Pal Singh used the occasion to criticise the Government, including Prime Minister Manmohan whom he labeled is anti-Sikh. He also took the opportunity to criticise the Indian judiciary and the audience yelled “Shame Shame India, Shame Shame Courts Here”. “The Supreme Court and High Courts are for the bahu-betis only. What a ridiculous judgement was given by the Supreme Court regarding the Parliament attack case and observations made on Afzal Guru. The recent Ayodhya case is a stupid judgement in which facts were not taken into account but only faith ka khaas khayal rakha gaya.”

The Naga and Manipuri leaders said that like Manipur and Nagaland, Kashmir was also never part of India. “To be a part during freedom struggle does not mean that we express solidarity to be united with India. We also need freedom as we were free before 1947. What is the problem to India when we say we want freedom,” said a speaker from Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights and Justice.