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Arrest me for speaking for Naxals: Arundhati

Press Trust Of India
Jun 03, 2010 at 06:39pm IST

Mumbai: Arundhati Roy probably gets lot of hate mail for her views on Naxalism but she certainly won't miss any opportunity to express them.

The Booker Prize-winning author and activist has once again said that she doesn’t support violence but believes the Naxals had no other option but to rebel against the state.

"The Naxal movement could be nothing but an armed struggle. I am not supporting violence. But I am also completely against contemptuous atrocities-based political analysis," she said while delivering a lecture on 'The War on People' organised by the Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights in Mumbai.

Arrest me for speaking for Naxals: Arundhati

'I am on this side of the line--pick me up put me in jail,' she says. '99 percent of Maoists are tribals, 99 percent of tribals are not Maoists.'

"It ought to be an armed movement. Gandhian way of opposition needs an audience, which is absent here. People have debated long before choosing this form of struggle," said Roy, 48.

"I am on this side of line. I do not care...pick me up put me in jail," she said.

Roy argued that Naxalite violence must be viewed in the context of the battle between tribals and corporate houses to gain control over natural resources like minerals, water and forests. "While 99 percent of Maoists are tribals, 99 percent of tribals are not Maoists."

"What the government calls Maoists corridor, is in fact MoU-ist corridor. You have an MoU (memorandum of understanding) on every mountain, river -- MoUs signed by biggest corporations in the world who are waiting to gain hold of the resources," Roy said.

The writer quoted a Lokayukta report to claim that the government earns Rs 24 per tonne from iron ore mining but the mining company gets Rs 5,000.

"Here we have the poorest, most malnourished waging a war against the corporates supported by all the institutions of world's biggest democracy. To a large extent, they have won in stopping the mighty corporates in their tracks," she said. "If we join them, we can make them win this war."

“They have a history of resistance which predates Mao. They were always armed; they are just using those bows and arrows against sophisticated weapons of security forces deployed by the government to crush their movement.”

Roy also clarified her reported remarks glorifying Maoists as "Gandhians with guns".

"I never called them Gandhians with guns. It was a blurb carried by a magazine. What I meant was that they (Naxals) are more Gandhian than any other Gandhian in their consumption”

Roy accused the media of lack of transparency and bias. "Earlier, politicians had to pay for good coverage. Now, they have to pay to ensure that they do not get bad coverage. Good coverage is extra fees."

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