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Sunday, November 14, 2010

India: ‘We have a common enemy in New Delhi’

Maoist ideologue Varavara Rao tells KUNAL MAJUMDER that the Naxals will support the separatist movement in Kashmir

Why did you attend the conference demanding secession of Kashmir? What connects the Kashmiri separatists to Maoists?
I feel azadi is the only way for Kashmir. Self-determination is the right of every nationality. Being a Maoist, I support revolutionary and independent movements of people. On that Marxist-Leninist principle, I support the nationality struggle of Kashmir and of the Northeast. I come from the Hyderabad riyasat. Both Hyderabad and Kashmir were invaded by India. Even the Indian Union uses the word `accession' in both cases. They annexed Hyderabad on the pretext that the rulers are Muslims and the ruled are Hindus. In Kashmir, they said the king is Hindu. In both places, they played the Hindu card.
Going by your argument, should India then be split into 28 different countries?
We support nationalistic aspirations. Only those princely states that were under Delhi till 1947 and those who agreed to join the Indian Union should be in India. Nehru had even taken the Kashmir issue to the United Nations. If Kashmir was like any other state after 1950, then what is the need for Article 370? If it is a part of the Indian Union, why do you have to send the army? Why do you have AFSPA? From Nehru to Vajpayee, there have been talks on Kashmir with Pakistan, because the government knows it is a disputed issue.
How do you define azadi? Pakistan calls the part of Kashmir occupied by it as azad Kashmir.
Kashmir belongs to the people of Kashmir. Even Syed Ali Shah Geelani is asking for the right of self-determination for Kashmiris. Who is India or Pakistan to decide about what Kashmir wants? As a Maoist, I say that Kashmir should be liberated, but if the people of Kashmir decide otherwise, we will accept it.

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