A speech by Gautam Navlakha, the arrested ‘Urban Naxal’ has been doing the rounds on social media recently. In the speech, he can be seen making contentious remarks which would be regarded by many as seditious and inflammatory.
An open call for incitement, sedition, support for guns & armed struggle, treason, extolling stone-pelting, and wrenching Azadi from India – meet Gautam Navlakha. “Activist”. [WARNING: Extremely disturbing footage.]
Part 1: https://t.co/kcObtKPgQL
Part II: https://t.co/j1EwiXUufs
— Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) September 29, 2018
The event where the speech was made was called “Whither Kashmir? Freedom or Enslavement?” and was organized by the Jammu & Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society at Srinagar (JKCCS) on the 24th of October, 2010. We have documented in our series, ‘Demystifying Civil Society’, that the JKCCS was the organization which had published the report demonizing Amarnath Yatra in collaboration with a foreign-funded organisation that received grants from Christian organisations abroad. It speaks volumes for the integrity of our mainstream media that they treated the report as objective truth from a neutral source when in reality, the sources have good motivation to tarnish the reputation of the Yatra, a Hindu pilgrimage which serves as a reminder of the Hindu heritage of Kashmir.
In the speech, Navlakha glorifies Kashmiri separatism and says that it is commendable that in spite of deaths, rapes and disappearances, the people of Kashmir have kept the dream of ‘Azaadi’ alive. He can also be seen glorifying Kashmiri terrorists. He says, “For 21 years, gunmen have kept the movement alive. This is a testament to their capabilities. They have committed mistakes, yes, they have committed many mistakes. But even so, if not for them, this movement would have died long ago. And in the past three years, they have taken the movement to such a level that if you do not get freedom in spite of that, then the success of it depends entirely on you. If someone can make the impossible happen, it is you.” He also suggests that students in schools should be used to spread the ideas of ‘Azaadi’.
Navlakha goes on to add, “In my life, I have always recognized the importance of guns. I have always maintained that people can use whatever means necessary to resist occupation and oppression. I respect guns. And therefore, I also recognize the responsibilities of them. And I condemn those who use these guns to oppress people.” At one point during his speech, the audience can be heard raising slogans of “We want Freedom!”.
It was in the same event that Arundhati Roy had infamously said that Kashmir was never an integral part of India and claimed that India had become a colonizing power as soon as it won its independence from the British. “Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. It is a historical fact. Even the Indian government has accepted this,” Roy had claimed.
It is also pertinent to mention that the JKCCS is affiliated to the CDRO, an umbrella organization that has intricate links to alleged ‘Urban Naxals’ and has an organization from Manipur with separatist inclinations coordinating under its banner as well.