In an interview with Al Jazeera English’s UpFront, Arundhati Roy, the award-winning author and activist, criticised the Indian press for ramping up tensions between India and Pakistan.
“They're more than complicit,” Roy told UpFront host Mehdi Hasan. “Sometimes they are literally calling for war.”
“One of the most terrifying things in India now is that you have something like four hundred 24-hour news channels,” she added. “Even if this government falls, those media channels will remain and openly lie, publishing fake news, knowing that it’s fake news. Some of those channels are owned by weapons dealers who have a vested interest... so the conflict of interest is unbelievable.”
When asked why she criticised Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the recent escalation with Pakistan, Roy said, “He has been extremely reckless in what he did by doing those sort of symbolic airstrikes after the Pulwama attack.”
During the interview, Roy was asked to comment on the independence of Kashmir and whether she supported that struggle.
“My position is that Kashmiris should be given a chance to express their opinion fearlessly,” she said.
“The whole world needs to turn its attention to Kashmir because we are in a very, very dangerous situation there,” she added.
On the subject of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Roy was asked if she believed he was a fascist.
“If you look at the games that have been played, the false flag attacks, the trail of deaths, of murders, of lynchings, you see fascism,” she said. “What else do you see?”
Also in the interview, Roy was asked to respond to critics who claim she supports armed resistance against the Indian state.
“I'm not just suggesting that everybody picks up arms and starts shooting people,” she said. “If there's nonviolent protest, it's not allowed. If there's armed resistance, it's not allowed...All of us are supposed to be okay with that and maintain the status quo?”
This interview marks the first episode of a new series of UpFront, which airs on Fridays.