Arundhati Roy, “Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds.”

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The Hindu, a daily paper in India, reports here that a crowd of up to 100 people assembled outside the home of writer Arundhati Roy, shouted anti-Roy slogans and attempted to break into her home.  The incident is reported to be in response to Ms. Roy’s statements about the political situation in Kashmir.  In an op-ed published in The Hindu 5 days ago (and prior to the incident at her home), Ms. Roy said (here):

I write this from Srinagar, Kashmir. This morning’s papers say that I may be arrested on charges of sedition for what I have said at recent public meetings on Kashmir. I said what millions of people here say every day. I said what I, as well as other commentators have written and said for years. 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.

Yesterday I travelled to Shopian, the apple-town in South Kashmir which had remained closed for 47 days last year in protest against the brutal rape and murder of Asiya and Nilofer, the young women whose bodies were found in a shallow stream near their homes and whose murderers have still not been brought to justice. * * *

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.

Her full statement is here.  The Reuters’ take on Roy’s Kashmir commentary is here.

Roy won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel The God of Small Things

-Bridget Crawford

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