Human rights activist and booker prize winner, Arundhati Roy on Sunday dropped a bomb shell stating that Indian Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. She also advocated the right to self-determination for the people of Kashmir contended that in 1947, British imperialism was replaced with Indian colonialism which has been in place to subjugate and oppress the people the people of such states which demand “Azadi Freedom” from Indian.
“Kashmir has never been an integral part of India which is a historical fact. It is a historical fact,” Roy said.
She said India after getting independence from British emerged as a “new colonizing power.”
“India fought in Nagaland, in Manipur, Punjab and in Kashmir. It projects a biggest democracy in the world and emerging economic power but at the same time it oppresses its states and the people of diverse cultures,” she added.
Speaking at a seminar titled "Whither Kashmir? Freedom or Enslavement," Roy asked Kashmiris to ponder on the type of society they have in mind for themselves.
"Imperial colonialism is fast being replaced by corporate colonialism and Kashmiris would have to make a choice whether or not they wanted the Indian oppression to be replaced by a future corporate oppression of the local masses," she said.
"Your struggle has increased the 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," she said.
“Any kind of resistance makes the people stronger and more mature. Kashmiris have been fighting Indian occupation and they should understand what they have achieved and what they have lost,” the writer said.
Attacking the Indian government for the "oppression of the Kashmiri people", she said India has been using Kashmiris recruited in the army and paramilitary forces to suppress the voices of dissent in the Northeast and vice versa.
“Kashmiris themselves should avoid being the part of oppressing machinery. They should avoid being the part of police and paramilitary forces.”
The seminar was organized by the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society headed by the local rights activist Pervaiz Imroz and was held at a hotel here.
Besides Roy, rights activist Gautam Naulakha and Delhi-based trader unionist Ashim Roy also strongly voiced their support for the freedom movement of the people of Kashmir.
No mainstream or separatist politician was present at the seminar although many local journalists and members of the civil society attended it.
Among the other speakers at the seminar were assistant editor of the Economic Times in Delhi Najeeb Mubarki, a Srinagar based senior journalist Parvaiz Bukhari, and a film maker Sanjay Kak.
Roy won the booker Prize in 1997 for her novel, The God of Small Things, and has also written two screenplays and several collections of essays. She has also written several pieces on Kashmir movement in Indian or international press while as Kak released a documentary titled "Jashn-e- Azadi” in 2007 which depicts the ground situation in the valley during the last two decades. The documentary was acclaimed in the valley with locals maintaining it depicted the truth about the Kashmir situation.
There has been unrest going on in India Kashmir since four months now which has left 111 people dead most of them youngsters. Omar Abdullah lead coalition government has failed to reach out to the youngsters who are on the streets protesting for their rights.