“India Today Is Headed For Crash And Its A Shame”: Arundhati Roy

New Delhi: Arundhati Roy, the winner of the Booker Prize, has compared “India today” to a plane flying backwards, claiming that it is “on the verge of crashing.”

She was addressing at the publication of the book “Why do you fear my method so much?” by GN Saibaba, a collection of poems and letters by the imprisoned human rights crusader.

Ms Roy claimed that, after leading “really revolutionary campaigns” in the 1960s to redistribute wealth and land, the country’s leaders were now distributing “5 kg rice and 1 kg salt” to win votes and elections.

“I recently asked a freind of mine who is a pilot, ‘Can you fly a plane backwards?’ He burst out laughing. “This is exactly what’s going on here,” I said.

“The leaders of this country are flying the plane backwards, everything is falling apart, and we’re on the verge of crashing,” warned the bestselling author of “The God of Small Things” and “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.”

India, according to the 62-year-old writer, is a place of “advanced jurisprudence,” but one in which rules are implemented differently based on your “caste, class, gender, and ethnicity.”

“What are we doing here today? We are meeting to talk about a professor who is paralysed 90 per cent and has been in jail for seven years. That is what we are doing. That is enough. We do not have to speak anymore. That is enough to tell you what kind of country we are living in. What shame is this,” she said.

In 2017, a sessions court in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district sentenced GN Saibaba, who has over 90% physical disability and uses a wheelchair, to life in prison on the accusation of having Maoist sympathies and engaging in actions that amounted to “waging war against the country.”

Under the strict anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the court found GN Saibaba and others guilty. His employment as an assistant professor at Delhi University’s Ram Lal Anand College ended on March 31, 2017.

D Raja, the general secretary of the Communist Party of India, who delivered the book at Jawahar Bhawan, reaffirmed his call for GN Saibaba’s immediate release.

He believes the current government is misguided if it believes it can beat a communist by labelling him a “terrorist” or imprisoning him.

“The government of the day thinks by labelling some people as ‘urban Maoists, ‘urban Naxalites, ‘anti-nationals’, ‘terrorists’ or putting them in prison or torturing them in prison, they can succeed.

“I warn them they can never succeed. A communist can be killed, but a communist can never be defeated Mr Modi,” Mr Raja added.

Vasantha, GN Saibaba’s wife, was also present for the book launch. She described how her husband, who was born into poverty in the Andhra Pradesh hamlet of Amalapuram, overcame his handicap to graduate from university and become a well-respected professor.

She also discussed GN Saibaba’s alleged inhumane treatment in solitary incarceration at Nagpur Central Jail, his poor health, which included a heart issue and chronic and severe spinal pain, and several parole denials, even for a few days to attend his mother’s funeral.

The book has been published by Speaking Tiger and is available for sale in offline and online stores.

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