Tag Archives: Indian Penal Code 1860

Almost Genocide

This post honours a great lady who is a comrade of all those who are poor, hungry, dispossessed, oppressed and who are exploited for the sake of money.

Speaking in the School of Oriental and African Studies on 5 June 2011, the legendary Indian writer Arundhati Roy put on yet another memorable performance in rebuking India’s sham democracy (to view the whole lecture please click here and scroll down). During her two-hour talk the acclaimed writer cited a plethora of atrocities which she directly attributed to the Indian state. Roy mercilessly pilloried India’s rulers on several fronts. She said that they were “almost” guilty of “genocide”. For her nationalism, Hindu fundamentalism and unmitigated capitalism unequivocally repudiated India’s claims to being a leading democracy – or even a democracy at all.

Although the public forum with Roy was about the Adivasis (India’s tribal or aboriginal people) of Chattisgarh, she did not hesitate in chiding the Indian state’s murderous behaviour in places such as Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Kashmir, Punjab, Nagaland, Orissa and Jharkand. (This list, of course, is non-exhaustive.)

Arundhati Roy also blamed the west for being complicit in corruption and dictatorship; she also argued that had it not been for the west’s endorsement of Indian state atrocity, which arose out of greed, the Indians would have been free long ago. For Roy, the utopian India Gandhi and Nehru envisioned long years ago has all but ceded sovereignty to despotism: the country is a paper tiger run by a coterie of greedy mercenaries and capitalists. Continue reading

Defending Arundhati Roy

By having made the statement that “Kashmir is not an integral part of India”, the acclaimed Indian novelist and human rights activist Arundhati Roy has angered the Indian government yet again. Earlier on by championing the Naxalite insurgency and by casting doubt on Pakistan’s alleged involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks she had made herself unpopular with Indian nationalists and Hindu extremists alike.

But this time the outspoken and brilliant lady might really be in some real trouble as the long arms of the law (i.e. qanoon kay lambay haath) will aim to charge her with sedition as set out in section 124A of India’s Penal Code 1860. If found guilty Roy could be sentenced to a life’s term in prison.

Just to be really Eurocentric, and also because of the fact the Convention is a “living instrument” to be followed universally, Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950 sets out a person’s right to free speech as:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.”

Moreover, the constitution of the world’s largest democracy is far from silent on the rights which Roy enjoys and it is worthwhile setting them out fully so that we can defend her in cyberspace. In the Constitution of India 1950 “fundamental rights” are enumerated in Articles 12-35. More specifically Article 19 establishes that: Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: