The Crescent Report

October 27, 2010

Arundhati Roy is a Hero, Not a Traitor

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 11:07 am

Introduction: A free Kashmir where its inhabitants can live in peace with the fundamental rights of self-determination is long overdue and a travesty against all forms of human rights and dignity. Check out the piece below.

-Imam Mahdi Bray

Quote of the day: “Occupation is a crime from Kashmir to Palestine.”

Arundhati Roy is a Hero, Not a Traitor

There is quite a bit of buzz in India, and throughout the world, in response to the statement made by internationally acclaimed Indian writer Arundhati Roy concerning the Indian occupation of Kashmir, a disputed territory between India and Pakistan claimed by both nations but occupied, for the most part, by the Indian army. It seems that there is pressure now, from Indian nationalists, to possibly indict Ms. Roy with the charge of sedition. Her alleged crime? Simply her statement that Kashmir is not a vital part of India.

When questioned about her statement, the very popular writer and human rights advocate explained that she was concerned about the fact that people in Kashmir are being abused, imprisoned, and even tortured into submission to an imposed “Indian” identity, even while a Kashmiri pro-independence movement seems to be gaining political support in the territory. Since earlier this year, there have been regular reports of clashes between Indian troops and rebellious students, workers, and activists in Kashmir in the majority-Muslim territory who are making a renewed push for a plebiscite to determine whether the people of Kashmir will continue to be part of India.

But the call of indicting Arundhati Roy’s with sedition, in an Indian court, is a serious issue that the Indian government must carefully consider. Is the idea of free speech, and the possibility of free political association, a real existential threat to the world’s largest multi-part democracy? Or put another way, is it possible to sustain any political occupation of a people against their will?  Ms. Roy certainly understands this, even if the political authorities in Delhi do not.

Military occupation, of any kind and for any rationale, will ultimately be of greater harm to the occupying nation that it will to those under occupation.  Arundhati Roy, far from being a seditionist, is a voice of compassion and reason that all  parties in this volatile region should pay attention to. Kashmir is not a “vital” or integral part of India, and  her words should become an opportunity for India and Pakistan to re-examine their claims on Kashmir, and ultimately conclude that the people of Kashmir alone should decide their own political affiliation.

-Ibrahim Abdil-Mu’id Ramey

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