Criticism for romanticising Naxalism notwithstanding, Booker Prize winning author Arundhati Roy has justified the armed resistance by Maoists and dared the authorities to arrest her for supporting their cause.
While claiming that she does not support violence, the 48-year-old author-activist 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 in Mumbai 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 Moists 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.
"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 coporates in their tracks," she said adding "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, she said.
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 pattern...their lifestyle."
The writer also slammed the media for alleged lack of transparency in their dealings.
"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," Roy said and demanded that media houses declare their all sources of revenue. PTI