‘At the heart of Naxalism is the land of the poor’

Booker Prize winning author turned activist Arundhati Roy speaking on the “War of People” at the Marathi patrakar sangh in Bombay:

“I think we should reverse the way we see this issue (war against Naxalism) and the way it is being put to us. But the fact is nobody needs this war more than this government.

“The fact is it is manufacturing an enemy to justify its war. When the prime minister said Maoists are the greatest internal threat to the country for the first time in 2004, what was the situation?

“Maoists were just wiped out in Andhra Pradesh, but why did the share prices of the mining companies go up? Because it was a message to them saying their interests were taken care of. The government actually made the Maoists seem bigger than they were….

“What is that makes it so urgent for the government to fight this war? In 2005, a huge number of MoUs were signed by the biggest corporations in the world, and they have been waiting. If you read the business papers you will understand clearly which MNC is waiting for which land.

“Maoists are only the violent end of a spectrum of a dissent in this country that this massive sale of land is just not on. Whether it is Kalinganagar, or POSCO, or Singur, or the Maoist movement, at the heart is land. All these infrastructure projects, the first thing they do is relocate the poor people.”

Read the full transcript: War of people

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