Put me in jail for backing Maoists: Arundhati Roy

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Mumbai:  Author-activist Arundhati Roy, who has been accused of romanticising Naxalism, has said she will continue to back the Maoists' armed struggle even if she is put behind bars.

While claiming that she does not support violence, the 48-year-old Booker prize winner feels that the Naxal movement could be nothing but an armed struggle as the Gandhian way would not have been successful in the present context.

"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 delivering a lecture on 'The War on People' organised by the Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights here late last night.

"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," Roy, who had saluted the "people of Dantewada" after 76 CRPF and police personnel were mowed down by Maoists in the deadliest attack targeting security forces, said.

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

While terming the Naxalite violence as a corollary to the battle between the tribals and corporate houses to gain control over natural resources like minerals, water and forests, she said, "While 99 per cent of Maoists are tribals, 99 per cent of tribals are not Maoists."

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

Explaining the economics behind iron ore mining, Arundhati quoting from Lokayukta's report said, while the government earns Rs 24 per tonne, the mining company gets Rs 5,000.


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