Freedom. People talk about it. Politicians talk about it, as do Governments and all sorts of other organizations. But, when you see such abject usurpation of a people’s liberty and turn a blind eye to their plight, you betray the ideals of the right to freedom that is the right of these occupied and tortured people.
“Kashmir is one of the most protracted and bloody occupations in the world — and one of the most ignored,” she told a large audience at the Asia Society during a discussion on “Kashmir — a case for freedom”.
— Renowned Indian activist and novelist Arundhati Roy
Renowned Indian activist and novelist Arundhati Roy has decried the silence of the international community over the continued “brutal Indian occupation of Kashmir” and said Kashmiris should be given the right to self-determination.
Under the Indian military rule in Kashmir, Ms Roy said, freedom of speech was non-existent and human rights abuses were routine. Elections were rigged and the press controlled.
She said the lives of Kashmiris were made miserable by gun-totting security personnel who harassed and terrorised people with impunity, adding that disappearances were almost a daily occurrence as also kidnapping, arrests, fake encounters and torture. Mass graves have been discovered and the conscience of the world remains unstirred.
Ms Roy accused US President Barack Obama of stepping back from calling for a solution of the Kashmir issue after initially supporting it, but relenting after seeing `consternation’ in India over his remarks.
“He (Mr Obama) hasn’t said a word about Kashmir since,” she said, adding that the US president was more interested in selling military aircraft and Boeings to India.
The apathy towards Kashmir, especially in the western world, Ms Roy said, was because of their pursuit of commercial interests in India where they were more eager to “sell their goods than human rights”.
Ms Roy alleged that Indian army or security personnel were killing young children, adding that Kashmiris were not radical Islamists or jihadists as India portrayed them.