UK: June 12–Public Meeting on the War against Tribal People in India

International Campaign Against War on the People in India

Please join us for a public meeting and an audience with celebrated authors who will discuss their recent experiences in India with a special focus on the raging war against the poorest of the poor, the tribal people living in the heartland of India.

Arundhati Roy:  From India and the author of recently published books
Walking with the Comrades” and “Broken Republic”

Jan Myrdal:  From Sweden and the author of
“Red Star Over India”

Basanta Indra Mohan:  From Nepal and the author of
“Imperialism and Proletarian Revolution 21st Century”

Program includes:  Presentations by the speakers,
film and Q&A session

Sunday, June 12, 2011, 1:30 pm till 5:00 pm

Place:  Friends House,  Main Hall,
173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ

Hosted by:   International Campaign Against War on People of India (ICAWPI)   www.icawpi.org       info@icawpi.org
c/o Gorki House, 70 Stoke Newington High Street, London N16 7PA   Tel: +44(0)20 7193 1605

Co-organised by: IWA (GB), UNF Europe, ACDA, AFPRISA, TKM, GIKDER, 100FCC, WPRM-Britain, UFSO, CCRC,… (To be updated)  For further information and contact with the organizers, please mail:  june12-London@icawpi.org

New Arundhati Roy book released: 45 sec protest fails to dampen Arundhati evening

TNN | May 21, 2011

NEW DELHI: They emerged suddenly shouting slogans – ‘Arundhati Roy murdabad’ and ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ – when the writer-activist was making a point on paid news. The three young men threw unsigned pamphlets on the stage and caused a 45-second interruption before being whisked away by police.
“I paid them to do that,” Roy joked, drawing laughter from a packed gathering at the Amphitheatre in the India Habitat Centreon Friday evening. It had been an engrossing conversation till then between Roy and economist Amit Bhaduri at the evening launch of her two books, Broken Republic and Walking with the Comrades. And it stayed that way despite the brief disruption.”The colonization of the land of the poor is at the heart of the unfolding civil war in the country,” said Roy. She applauded the resistance of the poorest people who have stood against the richest mining corporations in the world. Yet, the corporations and those who support them seem to be like “lazy predators” waiting for an opportune moment to strike. “We are facing the prospect of a militarized democracy, though that might sound as an oxymoron,” she said.Roy said the institutions that sustain democracy are being “hollowed out”. She recalled how as a child she stole carrots from her teacher’s garden. “I would then plant back the top. That’s what is happening today. We just retain the ritual of democracy,” she said. Continue reading

India: Arundhati Roy on Binayak Sen bail

Little pinholes of light have come out in this judgement, says author and activist Arundhati Roy on the Binayak Sen bail order by the Supreme Court. In an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN’s Rupashree Nanda, she also says ‘democracy is on a very slippery slope in Chhattisgarh’; that it is important to remember several others who are jailed under similar charges under ‘undemocratic laws’.

Rupashree Nanda: I remember you’d said that the judgement of the Raipur session court was intended to be a message, as a warning to others. What is the message of the Supreme Court bail order?

Arundhati Roy: I think that the Supreme Court granting him bail and the comments that were made in court do suggest that somewhere the Supreme Court is of the mind that it was a vindictive judgment and that he does deserve the benefit of the doubt. And so they gave him bail. What happens is that it underlines the fact that he was being made an example of; and the terror that reigns in Chhattisgarh remains so. Because, how many people have those lawyers? And have the ability to come to the Supreme Court? How many people are there poor, unnamed and named, under the very same laws for even less reasons? But they cannot come up and get bail. In some ways, it is a very necessary thing that has happened today. And in other ways it is worrying because we have so many people who don’t have access to the Supreme Court. Continue reading

Protest against “Literary Festival” in repressive Sri Lanka

Chomsky, Arundhati, lead protest to writers meet in Galle

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 19 January 2011, 23:37 GMT]
“This is not the right time for prominent international writers like you to give legitimacy to the Sri Lankan government’s suppression of free speech by attending a conference that does not in any way push for greater freedom of expression inside that country,” said an appeal made by leading intellectuals, Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka and Reporters without Borders, against writers participating the ‘Fifth Galle Literary Festival’ scheduled to take place in the southern city Galle in the island of Sri Lanka, 26 – 30 January 2011. Noam Chomsky and Arundhati Roy were the leading signatories of the appeal. In the great tradition of solidarity that binds writers together everywhere, the appeal urged them to send a clear message by their actions that until there is a real improvement in the climate for free expression in Sri Lanka, one cannot celebrate writing and the arts in Galle. Continue reading

Delhi, India: Sedition case against Arundhati Roy; Will Nehru be charged also?

[See the second article, below, for Arundhati Roy’s argument that former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru should be also charged (posthumously) for making the same remarks about the right of the Kashmiri people to choose whether they want to be part of the Indian state or to be independent.–Frontlines ed.]

The Hindu, 30/11/2010

Case registered against Arundhati, Geelani

Arundhati Roy

New Delhi: Following a court order, the Delhi Police on Monday registered a case of sedition against writer Arundhati Roy, hardline Hurriyat  leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, revolutionary poet Varavara Rao and others on charges of giving “anti-India” speeches at a convention on Kashmir, “Azadi: The Only Way”, held here on Oct. 21.

The case has been registered at Tilak Marg police station under Sections 124 A (sedition), 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 153 B (imputations, assertions, prejudicial to national integration), 504 (insult intended to provoke breach of peace) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the IPC and Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Joint Commissioner of Police (New Delhi Range) Dharmendra Kumar said the complaint filed by Sushil Pandit in the court under Section 156 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code has been converted into the First Information Report FIR after taking legal opinion on the matter. With the registration of the case, the police have initiated investigations. They have already obtained footage of the speeches made at the convention. “We will closely examine the speeches and file a report in the court by January 6, 2011 (the next date of hearing),” said Mr. Kumar.

The others named in the complaint include Delhi University professor S. A. R. Geelani who was acquitted in the Parliament attack case, Kashmir University law professor Sheikh Shaukat Hussain, Shuddhabrata Sengupta and Sujato Bhadra. Continue reading

Reactionaries try to disrupt Arundhati Roy’s trip to Orissa

From http://www.icawpi.org

Writer-activist Arundhati Roy is escorted by security personnel as ABVP activists stage a black flag protest against her remarks on Kashmir, during her visit to Bhubaneswar on Sunday.

Writer-activist Arundhati Roy is escorted by security personnel as ABVP activists stage a black flag protest against her remarks on Kashmir, during her visit to Bhubaneswar on Sunday.

BUBANESWAR: Writer Arundhati Roy was at the receiving end of her own tactic of dissent and protest here on Sunday when ABVP activists tried to stop her from attending a meeting on tribal rights for her controversial remark last month supporting ”azad Kashmir”.

The activists of  the youth wing of the BJP [the Hindu supremacist opposition party in the Indian government–ed], wearing black badges, shouted slogans like ”Gaddar (traitor) Arundhati hai, hai”, and, ”Arundhati go back” just as she got down from the car to reach the meeting venue, said an eyewitness, and added, ”They waved black flags and also chucked one of them at her.”

A scuffle between ABVP workers and Roy’s supporters, comprising representatives from anti-land acquisition lobby, followed. Her supporters cordoned off the venue at Swadheenta Sangram Manch to stop the ABVP activists from disrupting their meeting.

While some of Roy’s lathi-wielding supporters chased the ABVP men, said to be around 12 in number, the latter hurled shoes at them. At least two people were injured in the melee that went on for half-an-hour until the cops arrived and picked up eight ABVP men.

Talking to reporters, Roy said, ”They (ABVP) have a right to protest, I have a right to speak,” and added that she was sticking to her opinion on Kashmir. She had said, ”Kashmir was never an integral part of India.  It’s a historical fact.”

Times of India, November 22, 2010

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

From http://www.icawpi.org

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.” Continue reading

Arundhati Roy on Obama’s wars, poverty and India’s Maoist rebels

November 8, 2010

Amy Goodman of “Democracy Now” interviews Arundhati Roy, award-winning Indian writer and renowned global justice activist. Her latest book is Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers.

AMY GOODMAN: We move now to Arundhati Roy. Maoist rebels in India called for a strike Monday to protest President Obama’s visit. The Indian media reports, according to the police, Maoists blew up a new school building this morning and killed four people in the eastern Indian states or Orissa and Bihar.

Last month, I had the chance to sit down with author Arundhati Roy in London about the Maoists in India. But first I began by asking her for her assessment of President Obama.

ARUNDHATI ROY: Well, I think the big lesson today is look at the richest country in the world, America, having attacked and made war on the poorest countries but not being able to win those wars.  They have not been able to win. And here’s the lesson. You couldn’t win Vietnam, you couldn’t win Afghanistan, couldn’t win Iraq, cannot win Kashmir.

Obama, he’s involved in all these war crimes. It’s not as though he has expanded the war in Afghanistan, moved it into Pakistan. Pakistan is a country that is in such a lot of trouble because of this. Right when 9/11 happened, I remember writing saying you forced them to raise the Taliban in their midst, and now you want them to garret the pit that they grew in their own backyard. It’s going to lead to civil war. You didn’t need to be a genius to figure that out. And that has happened, you know? Continue reading

India: Reactionary mob attacks Arundhati Roy’s house

Neha Alawadhi, The Hindu, Nov 1, 2010

NEW DELHI: A large group of BJP Mahila Morcha activists protesting Arundhati Roy’s recent remarks on Kashmir broke into the compound of the writer’s residence here on Sunday.

The mob assembled outside Ms. Roy’s house in the high-security diplomatic enclave of Chanakyapuri around 11 a.m. and shouted slogans against her for more than half an hour. “Curiously, three news channel vans were stationed outside our house even before the protest began…the mob was abusive and broke through the front gate of the house,” Ms. Roy’s husband, Pradip Krishen, said.

Ms. Roy was not in the house at the time of the attack. In a statement, she said the mob numbered as many as a hundred persons. The activists broke a few flower pots kept outside the house and dispersed before the arrival of the police. They were prevented from entering the house by the guard and servants.

Mr. Krishen later lodged a complaint at the Chanakyapuri police station, following which police personnel were deployed outside the residence. He said this was the second such attack at their Kautilya Marg residence since June 2010, when some men on motorbikes pelted stones and smashed some windows.

Though Mr. Krishen had no idea about the identity of the protesters, he suspects that they were supported by a section of the Sangh Parivar “who have already declared their intention to harm and harass Arundhati Roy.” Continue reading

Arundhati Roy: “I’m bored of my critics”

http://icawpi.org/en/india-news/595-an-independent-kashmiri-nation-may-be-a-flawed-entity-but-is-independent-india-perfect

———————————————————

Tehelka Magazine, Vol 7, Issue 44, Dated November 06, 2010

‘An independent Kashmiri nation may be a flawed entity, but is independent India perfect?’

As a section of the political class and the media bays for her blood, author Arundhati Roy tells SHOMA CHAUDHURY why her opinions do not amount to sedition

Speaking her mind Arundhati Roy’s views on the Kashmir issue have invited brickbats from all possible quarters

The State has been contemplating charges of sedition against you for your speeches in Delhi and Kashmir. How do you understand sedition? Did you see yourself as being seditious? What was your intention in speaking from those two platforms in Delhi and Srinagar under the rubric — Azadi: The only way.
Sedition is an archaic, obsolete idea revived for us by Times Now, a channel that seems to have hysterically dedicated itself to hunting me down and putting me in the way of mob anger. Who am I anyway? Small fry for a whole TV channel. It’s not hard to get a writer lynched in this climate, and that’s what it seems to want to do. It is literally stalking me. I almost sense psychosis here. If I was the Government of India I would take a step back from the chess board of this recent morass and ask how a TV channel managed to whip up this frenzy using moth-eaten, discredited old ideas, and goad everybody into a blind alley of international embarrassment. All this has gone a long way towards internationalising the ‘Kashmir issue’, something the Indian government was trying to avoid.

One of the reasons it happened was because the BJP desperately needed to divert attention from the chargesheeting of Indresh Kumar, a key RSS leader in the Ajmer blast. This was a perfect opportunity, the media, forever in search of sensation, led by Times Now, obliged. It never occurred to me that I was being seditious. I had agreed to speak at the seminar in Delhi way before it was titled “Azadi: The only way”. The title was provocative, I guess, to people who are longing to be provoked. I don’t think it is such a big deal frankly, given what has been going on in Kashmir for more than half a century.

The Srinagar seminar was called ‘Whither Kashmir? Enslavement or Freedom?’ It was really meant for young Kashmiris to deepen the debate on what they meant by and what they wanted from azadi. Contrary to the idea that it was some fire-breathing call to arms, it was really the opposite — it was about contemplation, about deepening the debate, about asking uncomfortable questions. Continue reading

Indian government backs off on filing charges against Arundhati, Geelani

Writer and activist Arundhati Roy addresses a seminar ‘Whither Kashmir: Freedom or enslavement', organised by the Coalition of Civil Societies, in Srinagar, on Sunday. Photo: Nissar Ahmad

The Hindu

New Delhi, October 26, 2010

Siddharth Varadarajan

The Union government has no intention of filing criminal charges against Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, writer Arundhati Roy and others who spoke in favour of ‘azadi’ for Jammu and Kashmir at a seminar here last week, highly placed sources told The Hindu on Tuesday.

The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party is taking a strident position, insisting that a case of sedition be lodged against those who spoke at the seminar, but the Centre believes that acting on this demand will undermine the fragile dialogue process the government’s three interlocutors have begun in Srinagar.

With Dileep Padgaonkar, Radha Kumar and M.M. Ansari urging those Kashmiris raising slogans in favour of ‘azadi’ to put their thoughts down in writing, the irony of criminalising a mere speech has not been lost on New Delhi.

“We knew the BJP would try and make the holding of the seminar an issue,” the sources said, adding police permission for the public event was given because the organisers could easily have gone to court had the authorities tried pre-emptively to gag them. The meeting was thus videographed, and the proceedings were scrutinised.

The sources said permission of the Ministry of Home Affairs was not needed for the police to file a case of sedition, but added that North Block did not believe that charging or arresting Mr. Geelani and Ms. Roy made sense. Continue reading

CRPP slams the designs of the Indian government to silence voices of dissent

COMMITTEE FOR THE RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS

185/3, FOURTH FLOOR, ZAKIR NAGAR, NEW DELHI-25

Date: 26/10/10

Condemn strongly fascist designs of the Indian government to silence voices of dissent!

Condemn strongly the move to put Arundhati Roy and Syed Ali Shah Geelani under charges of sedition!

Ever since the historic convention in Delhi titled “Azadi: The Only Way” organised by the CRPP, the media is abuzz with reports of possible cases of ‘sedition’ against some of the main speakers in the convention. The names that are being cited keeps changing with the imagination of the concerned media houses.

The hype has become so high that now rather than discussing the serious issues pertaining to the political aspirations of the people of Jammu & Kashmir that was deliberated by one and all in the convention the issue has got subverted into a conflated, convenient binary of that what is euphemistically called as ‘seditious’ or ‘non-seditious’.

The word ‘sedition’ itself is of colonial descent conveniently used by the British colonisers to prevail upon and browbeat the freedom loving people of the subcontinent into submission. Today the Indian government along with an obliging media and a jingoist communal Sangh Parivar led by BJP on tow is deploying the same words to force through a pigeon hole sense of national chauvinism in the name of the vast sections of the people of this subcontinent. Continue reading

I fight for the love and pride of my people–Arundhati Roy

Dawn.com, October 26, 2010

New Delhi: Indian writer and activist Arundhati Roy who has been canvassing for freedom of Jammu and Kashmir from years of military occupation said on Tuesday that far from seeking a break up of India, as alleged by her rightwing detractors, she fights for the love and pride of the people of India.

Amid reports that the Indian government had given permission for her arrest for alleged sedition following her recent call for justice for all Kashmiris, Ms Roy, who is currently on a visit to the Valley said in a statement to the Indian media that it would be a sad day for her country if its writers were jailed for expressing their ideas while “communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters” roamed free.

Some rightwing newspapers and TV channels close to the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been campaigning for her arrest after she addressed a meeting on Kashmir in New Delhi last week at which Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani reiterated his call for azadi. Continue reading

Statement by Arundhati Roy on threats of arrest

I write this from Srinagar, Kashmir. This morning’s papers say that I may be arrested on charges of sedition for what I have said at recent public meetings on Kashmir. I said what millions of people here say every day. I said what I, as well as other commentators have written and said for years.

Anybody who cares to read the transcripts of my speeches will see that they were fundamentally a call for justice. I spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world; for Kashmiri Pandits who live out the tragedy of having been driven out of their homeland; for Dalit soldiers killed in Kashmir whose graves I visited on garbage heaps in their villages in Cuddalore; for the Indian poor who pay the price of this occupation in material ways and who are now learning to live in the terror of what is becoming a police state.

Yesterday I traveled to Shopian, the apple-town in South Kashmir which had remained closed for 47 days last year in protest against the brutal rape and murder of Asiya and Nilofer, the young women whose bodies were found in a shallow stream near their homes and whose murderers have still not been brought to justice. I met Shakeel, who is Nilofer’s husband and Asiya’s brother.  We sat in a circle of people crazed with grief and anger who had lost hope that they would ever get ‘insaf’—justice—from India, and now believed that Azadi—freedom— was their only hope. I met young stone pelters who had been shot through their eyes. I traveled with a young man who told me how three of his friends, teenagers in Anantnag district, had been taken into custody and had their finger-nails pulled out as punishment for throwing stones.

In the papers some have accused me of giving ‘hate-speeches’, of wanting India to break up. On the contrary, what I say comes from love and pride. It comes from not wanting people to be killed, raped, imprisoned or have their finger-nails pulled out in order to force them to say they are Indians. It comes from wanting to live in a society that is striving to be a just one. Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds. Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice, while communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters, looters, rapists, and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free.

Arundhati Roy

October 26, 2010