Monday, 24 September 2012

State attacking tribals in name of Green Hunt: Roy

Social activist and writer Arundhati Roy speaks to civil liberties activist Lateef Mohammed Khan at a meeting against Operation Green Hunt at the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram in Hyderabad on Sunday.

Noted social activist and writer Arundhati Roy on Sunday stressed the need to intensify the revolutionary movements to fight oppression by the state against the people. Speaking at a meeting organised by “Virasam” (Revolutionary Writers' Association) at Sundarayya Vignana Kendram here, Ms Roy said that the successive governments have made lives of common people miserable during the last 20 years by adopting the policies of globalisation, economic liberalisation, free market etc. She added that the reforms being implemented since the last 20 years have only contributed to the declining living standards of common people.

 “The reforms being taken up by the governments under the guise of free market regime have resulted in 30 per cent growth of military forces while adivasis forest areas faced extinction. The policy-makers have conspired to evacuate adivasis from forests under the name of Operation Green Hunt. Ironically, the people’s organisations instead of revolting against these policies are maintaining silence,” Ms Roy said.

While appreciating the recent ‘Bharat Bandh’ against FDI in retail sector, she questioned why parties and people were not agitating against incidents such as Gujarat riots. Referring to the ban on Revolutionary Democratic Front imposed by the state government, she said the people’s organisations have failed to express their anguish over the decision. Ms Roy alleged that the governments have mobilised lakhs of security personnel as part of Operation Green Hunt under the pretext of combating Maoists but they were instead resorting to attacks on innocent tribals. She alleged that the governments were branding Muslims as ‘terrorists’.


Revoke ban on RDF: Arundhati Roy

Writer and social activist Arundhati Roy on Sunday demanded an immediate revoke of the ban imposed on Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) in the state.

Addressing the gathering at a meeting organised by the Viplava Rachaitala Sangham (Revolutionary Writers’ Association) against the ban, Roy termed the ban unconstitutional and urged the members to keep on with their struggle against state-sponsored violence. “RDF is not a armed organisation. It’s activities are in consonance with the Indian constitution. Then why is it banned?,” she questioned.

However, she said that the ban had indirectly helped the RDF in growing strong. “The ban has indirectly benefited the RDF. It has allowed it to grow stronger and the bond among it’s members and with the people grow deeper,” she said. She lauded RDF’s members for fighting for the human rights of the dalits and the adivasis in rural India.

 “The ban has forced mass migration of RDF’s members from Hyderabad to either Delhi or to the rural parts of the state but still the organisation has grown stronger in the state capital, she said indicating to it’s swell of ranks during the first national conference of the RDF in Hyderabad on April this year.

 However, she seemed a bit disappointed on finding no expression of emotion or anger on the faces of RDF’s members against the ban. “We have stopped thinking and fighting against inequality and discrimination in the society. That is why we are not getting angry,” she explained.

The RDF has limited itself to organising meetings in protest against violation of constitutional rights. It is unfortunate that governments are still using outdated oppressive colonial laws to suppress the democratic rights of the people, said president of the state unit of RPI and senior High Court advocate Bojja Tarakam. Virasam state secretary Varalakshmi, HRF president S Jeevan Kumar spoke on the occasion. The seven-year-old RDF is a democratic organisation active across India in fighting for the rights of the downtrodden.

Source :

Accepting inequality part of Indian culture: Roy

Noted writer Arundhati Roy with revolutionary writer Varavara Rao at the meeting of the Revolutionary Writers Association in Hyderabad on Sunday 23rd September, 2012. Photo: G. Ramakrishna

It is a shame that people cannot talk about the economic order and do not know the frontiers of their battle’

Noted writer Arundhati Roy has regretted that it had become part of the Indian culture to accept inequality in society.

Indians had a fond hope that they will live in an equal society when the Naxalbari movement was launched against the zamindari system in the 1970s. The slogan then was ‘land to the tiller’, but now their demand has transformed to retention of whatever land is left with them, she said, addressing a meeting of the Revolutionary Writers Association against the ban on Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF).

Ms. Roy criticised Indian society as the most “rotten” in the world with its people failing to fight against injustice. “It is a shame that they cannot talk about the economic order which threatened society.” People did not know the frontiers of their battle. As a result, the governments doctored their minds and they were left lurching between Islamic terrorism on one hand and Maoism on the other. The governments had adopted the British policy of deploying their forces to deal with terrorist activities from far and wide, she said.

 She called for new alliances between people to fight the assault from the governments. However, the anger of people had come down by 30 per cent, while there was an equal rise in the strength of security forces since economic reforms were initiated in the country in 1991.

Political parties resorted to hypocrisy by stalling Parliament and organising ‘Bharat bandh’ over foreign direct investment in retail trade. The parties did not think about FDI when it was allowed in mining and infrastructure projects, Ms. Roy added. She warned that the army would be deployed in Chhattisgarh to deal with Maoist activity. Earlier, AP Civil Liberties Committee vice president Suresh said that the government had banned RDF, although it did not have an organisational network in the State. Revolutionary writer Varavara Rao
attended the meeting.


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Special Cell exists to torment minorities: Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy at a packed auditorium of Jamia Millia Islamia University. Addressing more than 600 students and Batla House residents on Tuesday, Roy said the Cell existed merely to "create fear'' in the minds of minorities .

 "We should be looking at the forms and lines of state brutality. I do not think petitioning will help anymore. It is time to think politically ,'' Roy said, adding, the debate was beyond religious lines as the Indian state had been trying to 'militarize' ever since it aligned with the "pro-market countries like US and Israel'' .

 Roy was speaking at a book release organized by the group, Jamia Teachers' Solidarity, which was formed after the Batla encounter with the objective of demanding a judicial probe into what it calls "killings'' . The JTS released a book titled Framed, Damned, Acquitted: Dossiers of a Very Special Cell that examines 15 cases of Muslim men charged as terrorists and then acquitted by courts. Each of these men spent seven to 14 years in jail.

 Standing up for the men, noted jurist Rajender Sachar said the government had forgotten its "contract' ' to protect its people. Recalling his experiences as a member of People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) when Maoist sympathizer Seema Azad's case hit the headlines, he called for repeal of the sedition law. He questioned the government's intentions and asked why Special Cell officers who "framed'' youths did not face action. He said PUCL will help all 15 men discussed in the book receive some amount of compensation

. Later, the JSA said it was demanding several measures from the government on the eve of the Batla encounter . "We want a national commission of enquiry set up immediately to document and investigate all such police excesses across the country. Two, we want a comprehensive rehabilitation package, including assistance in education and occupation ," said a representative . The group also demanded that the government and the police tender a public apology for their actions , the Special Cell be disbanded , and officers involved in the frame up be punished.

 Two of the exonerated men, who spent 14 years in prison, spoke about their pain and loss. Md Aamir Khan was tried in several cases across Delhi, Haryana and UP while Maqbool Shah was charged for being involved in a car blast case at Lajpat Nagar. "When I remember those days, I can only cry out. During the process , I lost my father and elder sister. My business went bust and at times I felt like committing suicide. Yet no fast track court helped me, nor any lawyer initially agreed to take up my case,'' he said.

 Aamir, about whom TOI wrote earlier, claimed he was still "fighting for dignity. I am getting married next month. But, what will I feed my wife and children? Will anyone arrange a job for me?'' he said.


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

‘If govt can’t handle garbage, how will it handle nuclear waste?’

“I stand in complete solidarity with the villagers of Idinthakarai who are resisting the fuel loading of theKoodankulam nuclear reactor. I happened to be in Japan in March 2011 when the earthquake damaged the Fukushima reactor. After the disaster, almost every country that uses nuclear energy declared that it would change its policy. Every country, except India.
Our Government has shown itself incapable of even being able to dispose day to day garbage, leave alone industrial effluent or urban sewage. How does it dare to say that it knows how to deal with nuclear waste? And that nuclear reactors in India are safe?
We know how the Government has colluded with Union Carbide (now Dow Chemicals) to ensure that the victims of the Bhopal Gas Leak will never get justice. But no amount of compensation can ever
right a nuclear disaster. I do believe that what is being done in Koodankulam in the name of Development is a crime.”