Arundhati Roy's speech at Azadi Conference, Delhi, 2010

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Arundhati Roy, speaking on 21 October 2010 in Delhi at a meeting organised by the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners. She was later threatened with prosecution over her speech.

A report on the meeting appears in the Minutes of the Azadi Seminar. Shuddhabrata Sengupta has published a must-read account of part of the meeting in his Report from a Turbulent Few Hours in Delhi

"There is hardly any ‘terrorism’ in Kashmir today (if we don’t count the Indian state and its terror) . The 111 people who have died in the past months, have not died at the hands of non-state insurgents, they have died, unarmed, facing the bullets of the Indian state. The movement for Azaadi in Kashmir has left the culture of the gun and the grenade behind. It fights today without weapons, armed only with courage. If there is a terrorist in Kashmir today, he wears the uniform of the forces of the Indian state, and carries the weapons supplied by the arsenal of the Indian state." - Shuddhabrata Sengupta, 22 October 2010.

Transcript of Arundhati Roy's Speech at Seminar Called "Azadi - the Only Way" in New Delhi on October 21, 2010

S. A. R. Geelani: Now I request Arundhati Roy to come and speak.

Arundhati Roy: If anybody has any shoes to throw, please throw them now...

[Some people in the audience: "We're cultured."]

AR: Good, I'm glad. I'm glad to hear that. Though being cultured is not necessarily a good thing. But anyway.

[Interruption from some people in the audience.]

SG: Please, will you talk afterwards. Now prove that you are cultured.

AR: About a week or ten days ago, I was in Ranchi where there was a Peoples' Tribunal against Operation Green Hunt - which is the Indian state's war against the poorest people in this country - and at that tribunal, just as I was leaving, a TV journalist stuck a mic in my face and very aggressively said "Madam, is Kashmir an integral part of India or not? Is Kashmir an integral part of India or not?" about five times. So I said, look Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. However aggressively and however often you want to ask me that. Even the Indian government has accepted, in the UN that it's not an integral part of India. So why are we trying to change that narrative now.

See in 1947, we were told that India became a sovereign nation and a sovereign democracy, but if you look at what the Indian state did from midnight of 1947 onwards, that colonised country, that country that became a country because of the imagination of its coloniser - the British drew the map of India in 1899 - so that country became a colonizing power the moment it became independent, and the Indian state has militarily intervened in Manipur, in Nagaland, in Mizoram, in Kashmir, in Telangana, during the Naxalbari uprising, in Punjab, in Hyderabad, in Goa, in Junagarh. So often the Indian government, the Indian state, the Indian elite, they accuse the Naxalites of believing in protracted war, but actually you see a state - the Indian state - that has waged protracted war against its own people or what it calls its own people relentlessly since 1947, and when you look at who are those people that it has waged war against - the Nagas, the Mizos, the Manipuris, people in Assam, Hyderabad, Kashmir, Punjab - it's always a minority, the Muslims, the tribals, the Christians, the Dalits, the Adivasis, endless war by an upper caste Hindu state, this is what is the modern history of our country.

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