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On air: Do you draw the line at freedom of speech if it criticises your country?

Krupa Thakrar Padhy Krupa Thakrar Padhy | 16:32 UK time, Wednesday, 27 October 2010


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"Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. It is a historical fact. Even the Indian government has accepted this.'

This is the comment that's pushed Arundhati Roy to the Kashmiri frontline. The award-winning author of The God of Small Things is hardly a stranger when it comes to voicing her opinions. But this time, her words have got many questioning her loyalty to India.

The Indian government is threatening to arrest Arundhati Roy on charges of sedition. Yesterday she issued this response;

'In the papers some have accused me of giving 'hate-speeches', of wanting India to break up. On the contrary, what I say comes from love and pride. It comes from not wanting people to be killed, raped, imprisoned or have their finger-nails pulled out in order to force them to say they are Indians...Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds.'

But themetromonkey in India reacts on Twitter: 'There is a difference between freedom and complete disregard of national sentiments. Arundhati Roy has crossed the line.'

Does freedom of speech stop when your comments are thought to insult your country?

Blogger Venkatesan Vembu calls Ms Roy's comments 'dangerously wrong.'

'The Indian state may not always have got it right in Kashmir, but Roy's black-and-white delineation represents a colossal and intellectually dishonest oversimplification of the problem without sufficient appreciation of the fanatical geopolitical forces at work.'
There's admiration for her too. ShubnumKhan in South Africa tweets: 'One day when I grow up I wish I have the strength to be as strong as Arundhati Roy .'

Others, like Rathnikesh in India have mixed feelings. He posts: 'simultaneously admiring and hating arundhati roy ... '

But TheKashmiris tweets: Why Indians fail to understand that self determination is a form of direct democracy. #Arundhati Roy #Kashmir -God Bless You.

Over on the blogosphere, KashmiriIndian asks people to not take Ms. Roy's comments seriously,

'Dont give much importance to this lady and grant her the publicity she craves for. Read her history and you shall know that she keeps jumping from one issue to another merely to draw attention.'
And this from Cannonball Taffy O Jones,
'Roy is, of course, correct but she does not go far enough.Not only is Kashmir not a 'vital' part of India, it not a part of India at all. It is ironic to see a nation born of a people's demand for self-determination denying Kashmiris this very same right with such brutality. '

Vicky on Pickled Politics believes that Arundhati Roy makes a living out of criticising India.

'She went to stop Narmada Dam to get publicity, people didn't toe the line then...Now, local people are reaping benefits of the Dam...Nobody denies that the state has failed its citizens in many ways and the administration should be much better but to say that India should break up is just not acceptable....Azaadi or Freedom is very fashionable in Kashmir Valley. People must understand that there are regions of Ladhak, Jammu and also Muslims of Kargil, Drass sectors who are very happy with Indian State. She wont mention them..'

Were Arundhati's Roy's comments purely patriotic or is the Indian government right to threaten her with prison?


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