One cannot underestimate the impact of Ms Roy's statement on Kashmir when the country is facing many challenges. The pen is mightier than the sword. Creative writers should strengthen patriotic feelings and downplay functionalist feelings propagated by people with vested interests.

Lukose Thomas,

Erode

India is a free country where democracy prevails in spite of deficiencies in governance. The issue surrounding Ms Roy's comment is not about freedom of expression but about responsible activism. Her statement has not been of any help in resolving the Kashmir issue.

K. Sabari Rajkumar,

Chennai

Ms Roy's statement (Oct. 27) was touching. She has every right to exercise her right to freedom of speech and expression. But writers should remember that the power of words is massive. So use them wisely and justly.

A.S. Shyama,

Thiruvananthapuram

Ms Roy could have spared a thought for the thousands of soldiers who die in the Kashmir Valley so that we can sleep peacefully. Freedom of speech does not give her the right to say anything. But she should not be arrested for sedition either. Rights activists are better left alone.

M. Nagarajan,

Chennai

It is true that Kashmir is closer to Pakistan geographically but ideologically proximate to India in spite of all our frailties and shortcomings. The State's future lies in a democratic India, not a failed state.

Even the right to self-determination has undergone a transformation, from independence to autonomy. The resolution of the Kashmir issue lies in how much autonomy we give its people and how much democratic space we create.

An unresolved Kashmir is a loss for entire South Asia. The whole notion of SAARC cooperation has not moved forward because of it. Cooperation, not confrontation, and conciliation, not conflict, should be the bywords of a negotiated settlement.

Asad Bin Saif,

Mumbai

It is a fact that millions of people in Kashmir are dissatisfied with the Centre for its failure to bring peace to the region. But it has not deterred them from participating in the democratic process. As for Ms Roy's claim that many people in Kashmir have lost the hope that they can get insaf from India and believe that azaadi is their only hope, there are many Indians in other parts who are equally dissatisfied with the Centre. If freedom is to be given to all dissatisfied Indians, India will have to be broken up into a number of pieces.

S.V. Padmanabhan,

Secunderabad

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