Arundhati Roy targets govt: Maybe one day they will be in detention centres, we will be azad

Comments made by acclaimed author Arundhati Roy at Jamia Millia Islamia today are sure to kick up a storm.

For Arundhati Roy, it seems, the next controversy is always just around the corner. When the Booker-winning author turned up at Jamia Millia Islamia today to express solidarity with students there, she brought up the issue of detention centres — and her comments are sure to kick up a storm.

“If we all get together, there won’t be a detention centre big enough for us,” she said.

“Maybe there will be a day when this government will be in a detention centre, and all of us azad [free]. We won’t back down,” she added.

Alleged police brutality at Jamia, one of Delhi’s best-known varsities, kindled the growth of an agitation against the amended Citizenship Act into a nationwide stir whose intensity threw BJP leaders off guard — by their own admission. Protesters feared that that the citizenship law, when considered with public announcements of a nationwide citizens register (known as NRC), could make Muslims stateless.

The government now says there has been no discussion on a pan-India NRC, and has repeatedly asked the public not to worry about losing citizenship. It says the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), made law in December, will only provide citizenship to minorities who fled religious persecution in three Islamic nations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently denied the existence of detention centres — but was soon called out by his political rivals.

The CAA fast-tracks naturalisation for Pakistani, Afghan and Bangladeshi illegal immigrants from six non-Muslim minority religions who entered India on or before December 31, 2014. The law came into effect on January 10, 2020 — a development that indicates the Centre is serious about its vow to not “move back even an inch”.

Arundhati Roy evaded India Today TV’s question about the Home Ministry notification: Would protesting would bear any fruit now?

The government’s clarifications on the CAA haven’t stopped protesters at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh from demonstrating for weeks at a stretch. By the way, that’s where Arundhati Roy was headed after her appearance at Jamia Millia Islamia.

Elsewhere in India, the protests have claimed dozens of lives — especially in Uttar Pradesh. In fact, though it’s only weeks old, the agitation against the CAA has been deadlier than the months-long pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.

Source: India Today


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