Defending freedom of speech sign now


DEFENDING FREEDOM OF SPEECH

We are concerned with false accusations levelled against writer Arundathi Roy by BJP, RSS and Congress party. While Kashmir was burning, writer Arundhati Roy along with revolutionary poet Varavara Rao, GN.Saibaba, Gursharan Singh and Thiagu (Tamil Writer) expressed their solidarity with the people of Kashmir and questioned the state violence and the Indian military occupation of Kashmir in a seminar organized on Kashmir Azadi the only way in New Delhi. In response to the seminar, BJP leaders demanded that the government file a sedition charge against Arundhati Roy and arrest her for expressing her opinions on Kashmir. Should this happen, it amounts to curtailing the freedom of expression in a country that claims to be democratic and would effectively silence any opinions not in line with those of the right wing and the government of India.

Indian security forces have killed many innocent Kashmiri people over the past 5 decades. Recently Indian security forces engaged in a killing spree that ended the lives of 100 Kashmiri youth in 100 days. Today peaceful and democratic protests are suppressed with brute force. Closing all avenues for expression of their frustrations and protesting the military rule will only compel people to pursue alternative ways of struggle.

For political mileage, BJP and RSS are fostering hatred under the pretext of patriotism and are condoning brutal killings of Kashmiri youth. As Indians, we would like Kashmir to be part of India, but not at the expense of thousands of state sponsored killings and brutal military occupation. We need to win the hearts and minds of the people of Kashmir by extending friendship, ending military occupation, stopping state sponsored killings and creating peaceful conditions. If Indian military points guns to the heads of Kashmiri people and intends to rule by military occupation, it will be rejected not only by the people of Kashmir but the entire Indian nation.

We may or may not agree with Arundhati Roys views on Kashmir, but she has a fundamental right to express her opinions. As concerned citizens who believe in democratic values and human rights, we extend our solidarity to all writers, intellectuals and all rallying masses in the Kashmiri valley. We appeal to all democratic minded people, writers, workers, students, Dalits to support the freedom of speech and the people of Kashmir.

Sitaramayya Ari
Sajee gopal
Ashok

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