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BackYou are here: AnalysisOpinion 2 reports on Arundhati Roy’s speech to tribal activists from Orissa

Opinion

2 reports on Arundhati Roy’s speech to tribal activists from Orissa

Mass movements must fight corporates

Writer Arundhati Roy, who faced an angry protest by Sangh Parivar activists here on Sunday, urged those involved in mass movements to oppose corporates which she said were eyeing the rich natural resources of tribal heartlands. Ms. Roy came here to attend a meeting on ‘Cultural resistance to war on people in corporate interest.’

As soon as she reached the venue, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and Bajrang Dal activists waved black flags to protest her recent remarks on Kashmir, terming them anti-national. They also started shouting that she should leave the venue immediately. Soon a scuffle broke out. The organisers chased away the agitators. The police took at least 10 of them into custody.

Unperturbed, Ms. Roy addressed hundreds of tribal activists from different parts of Orissa. “The number of poor people living in India will be more than that of the total poor in 26 African countries. The condition of poverty in Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal is critical. All the attention is, however, trained on these States, as these poor are raising their voice against land acquisition attempts by big corporates of the world,” she said.

She said the Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996, prohibited land acquisition in tribal areas. “But now, people in power say it is imperative to acquire land from tribals for development. Those who frame policies are the violators.”

“Earlier people’s movements had sprouted to get back excess land lying with zamindars. But the nature of the struggle has undergone a change. Now it is a fight not to let the land — whatever is left with the tribal population — be snatched by the corporate-backed government,” she said.

Ms. Roy alleged that leaders thought development was possible only when 80 per cent of the population started living in urban areas, and they wanted to vacate villages in the interest of corporates. “They are inviting the military to take over the affairs. Our States are becoming military States. Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Lalgarh have already been militarised.”

Maoist ideologue Varavara Rao and Oriya writer Bibhuti Patnaik spoke.

(Naxal Terror Watch, November 21, 2010)

 

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Maoists are patriot of  kind: Arundhati

Bhubaneswar: Glorifying Maoists as “patriot of a kind”, controversial writer Arundhati Roy today accused Prime Minister and Union Home minister of “violating the Constitution and PESA (Panchayat Extention of Scheduled Areas) act by allowing corporates to use tribal land.”

“Patriot of a kind, they (Maoists) are. But here patriotism is very complicated. So at the moment what people are fighting for is to keep this country from falling apart,” Roy told reporters after addressing a meeting on “Cultural resistance to war on people in corporate interest”, organised by a magazine considered to be pro-left.

To a question, the writer-cum-activist, however, said she did not think there could be only Maoist revolution for solving problems. “There will be a new kind of alliance of all kinds of pople,” said Roy, whose visit here was opposed by saffron outfits like RSS and ABVP for her remarks on Kashmir.

Stating that PESA Act was enacted to safeguard rights of tribals and others living in scheduled areas, the Booker Prize winner said that Prime Minister and home minister were saying that forest land was needed for other purposes.

“They (PM and HM) enact laws and violate it,” Roy alleged claiming that local people, particularly tribals had every right over the land, forest and water in their areas.

Besides PM and HM, the police, CRPF and BSF also violate laws framed under the Constitution, she alleged.

Accusing successive governments at the Centre of “frequently” using military force in places like Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and north-east, Roy said while people in Pakistan are fighting against military rule, “some people here want to use brute force to suppress people’s voice.”

“Force was being used by the government and not the Naxalites,” she alleged.

Already embroiled in a controversy for her recent remarks on Kashmir, Roy said, “People who raise their voice to protect their lands are termed as Maoists or terrorists.” Therefore, she asked people to think on how to face the challenge thrust upon the country by corporates.

The writer also narrated how the people living in dense forests of Chhattisgarh were allegedly being “tortured” by the force.

“How do the people whose women were raped and saw their houses being burnt protest? They cannot go on hunger strike because they are already hungry. They too cannot launch non-violent agitation because nobody will see them in dense jungle,” she said in a veiled support to people taking up arms in protest against atrocities on them.

Roy was supported by Maoist ideologue and poet V V Rao who addressed the meeting attended by at least 36 different anti-displacement organisations, saying, “People are not taking up arms out of pleasure, they are forced to do this,” Rao told the gathering.

Sources said members of Odisha Janabadi Lekhak Sangh , Odisha Bhasha Bikash Manch, Niyamgiri Surakhya Samiti, Prakrutik Sampad Surakhya Parishad, Dakhin Odisha Sramika Sangh, Malkangiri Zilla Adibasi Sangh, Lokashakti Abhijan, Rajnaitik Bandi Mukti Committee, Pashim Odisha Krushak Sangathan Samanway Samiti, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, Kalahandi Sachetan Nagarik Manch, Adibasi Adhikar Andolan, All India Students Federation, Laxman Nayak Yuba Chhatra Manch, Chashi Mulia Adibasi Sangh (Koraput), Rastriya Yuba Sanghathan, Banabasi Surakhya Parishad, Rajdhani Basti Unnayan Parishad, Odisha Forest Mazdoor Union, Jal Jami Jungle Surakhya Manch, Adi Hak Jan Sangharsh Committee, Anchalik Bisthapit Sangh, Gandhamardan Surakhya Yuba Parishad, Jan Swarth Surakhya Parishad and Chilika Maschyajibi Mahasangh attended the seminar in Bhubaneswar.

( Press Trust of India, November 21, 2010)