Clash over Arundhati Roy`s programme in Orissa

At least five people were injured on Sunday in a clash between Sangh Parivar activists and organisers of a meeting here, police said.

Updated: Nov 21, 2010, 21:05 PM IST

Bhubaneswar: Glorifying Maoists as "patriot of a kind", controversial writer Arundhati Roy on Sunday 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 people," 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 VV Rao who ddressed 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 .

PTI