On September 12 this year, controversial author Arundhati Roy went on an anti-India tirade at the 45th Prix Européen de l’Essai, which was held in Lausanne city of Switzerland.
Roy, who was felicitated with the Lifetime Achievement award at the ceremony, exploited the opportunity to fearmonger about India and its democracy. At the very onset, she claimed that her writings have mapped how India somehow descended into ‘majoritarianism and then into full-blown fascism.’
While accusing the BJP of disseminating ‘Hindu supremacy’, she alleged, “Elections are a season of murder, lynching and dog-whistling – the most dangerous time for India’s minorities, Muslims and Christians in particular.”
Important 🧵-— Dibakar Dutta (দিবাকর দত্ত) (@dibakardutta_) September 17, 2023
On Sep 12, Arundhati Roy was felicitated with a lifetime achievement award at the European Essay Award Ceremony in Switzerland.
But, she exploited the opportunity to fearmonger about India and its democracy.
Arundhati Roy desperately attempted to present her ‘figment of imagination’ and her distorted version of India, a manifestation of her far-left politics, as the gospel truth. She claimed that the ‘evil’ has somehow been normalised in streets, classrooms and public spaces.
The controversial ‘author’ accused the media of pandering to ‘fascist majoritarianism’ and the Modi government of comprising the ethos of the Indian Constitution. “If the current regime wins a majority in 2024, it is very likely that we will see a new Constitution,” she brazened it out.
She further claimed, “Even in the unlikely event of an electoral defeat, the supremacist poison runs deep and has compromised every public institution that is meant to oversee checks and balances.” Arundhati Roy also cast aspersions on the integrity of the Indian Supreme Court, and dubbed it as ‘weak’ and ‘undermined.’
Arundhati Roy spreads canards about ‘delimitation’, hints at secessionism
The controversial author tried to drive a wedge between the ‘Hindi-speaking States’ in the North and the Southern States by falsely claiming that the government was engaging in ‘delimitation’ to award more parliamentary seats to the former.
“This will cause great resentment in the southern states and has the potential to balkanise India,” she hinted at possible secessionism (breakdown and eventual separation) of the Southern part from the Union of India.
It must be mentioned that in 2002, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government enacted the 84th Amendment Act to prevent delimitation till the year 2026. This was done to encourage population stabilisation in line with the family planning programmes undertaken by the States and the National Population Policy strategy of the Centre.
Delimitation has thus been frozen for over 24 years despite the population increase across the country. There will be no increase in electoral constituencies in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The decision was taken way back in 2002 and is not a political ploy by the current government to benefit itself, as suggested by Roy. She also drew false equivalences between ‘delimitation’ to ‘gerrymandering,’ which is an undemocratic redistricting policy used in the US by policymakers to benefit them electorally.
Controversial author whines about being labelled ‘traitor’ and ‘anti-national’
Arundhati Roy claimed that she was ‘mocked’ and ‘criticised’ when she started fearmongering about India, way back in 1998 (25 years ago). However, she is now hopeful that her propaganda-laden essays will live on to instil the same sentiment in generations to come.
“…In 1998 a BJP-led Hindu nationalist government came to power. The first thing it did was to conduct a series of nuclear tests. They were greeted by most people, including writers, artists and journalists, in a language of virulent, chauvinistic nationalism,” she lamented.
The self-proclaimed ‘fairy princess of the literary world’ alleged that she was dubbed a ‘traitor’ and ‘anti-national’ for publishing her essay titled [pdf] ‘The End of Imagination’ in Frontline and Outlook.
“I received those insults as laurels, no less prestigious than the Booker Prize. It set me off on a long writing journey, about dams, rivers, displacement, caste, mining, civil war – a journey that deepened my understanding and entwined my fiction and nonfiction in ways that they can no longer be separated,” she said.
Arundhati Roy was understandably counselled by people around her to stop her anti-India propaganda. But the defiant ‘caste baiter’ in her did not stop. “I was sternly lectured (mostly by upper-caste men) about how to write, the subjects I should write about, and the tone I should take,” she claimed.
Arundhati Roy hails BBC documentary on PM Modi, peddles debunked claims
The controversial ‘author’ promoted the BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which attempted to shield Islamists responsible for burning the Sabarmati Express and killing 59 Hindus (29 women and 10 children) in the process.
“The BBC broadcast a two-part documentary called India: The Modi Question…The BBC film implicates Modi in the abetment of mass murder…Episode 1 of the BBC film The Modi Question is about the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom which raged through the state of Gujarat after Muslims were held responsible for the burning of a railway coach in which 59 Hindu pilgrims were burned alive,” she claimed.
Just like the BBC, Arundhati Roy also tried to insinuate that the Muslim co were ‘wrongly blamed’ for the Godhra carnage. As a matter of fact, 31 Islamists were found guilty of setting the Sabarmati Express on fire. 11 of them were handed the death penalty by a special fast-track court on March 1, 2011.
Their names include Abdul Razzak Kurkur, Ismail Suleja, Jabbir Binyamin Behra, Ramzani Binyamin Behra, Mehboob Hassan, Siraj Bala, Irfan Kalandar, Irfan Patadia, Hassan Lalu, Mehboob Chanda, & Salim Zarda. However, their death penalty was later commuted to a life sentence in October 2017.
Now, check the names of those men who were awarded life imprisonment for the Godhra train burning incident in 2011.— Dibakar Dutta (দিবাকর দত্ত) (@dibakardutta_) January 21, 2023
Special thanks to @LekhakAnurag for helping me find the original judgment copy.
Among the convicted, the other 20 were awarded life sentences. Those criminals included Suleman Ahmad Hussain, Abdul Rehman Abdul Majid Dhantiya, Kasim Abdul Sattar, Irfan Siraj Pado Ghanchi, Anwar Mohmmad Mehda, Siddik, Mehboob Yakub Mitha, Soheb Yusuf Ahmed Kalandar, Saukat, Siddik Mohmmad Mora, Abdul Sattar Ibrahim Gaddi Asla, Abdul Rauf Abdul Majid Isa, Yunus Abdulhaq Samol, Ibrahim Abdul Razak Abdul Sattar Samol, Saukat Yusuf Ismail Mohan, Bilal Abdullah Ismail Badam Ghanchi, Farook, Ayub Abdul Gani Ismail Pataliya, Saukat Abdulah Maulvi Isamail Badam, Md Hanif.
Despite attempts by the BBC and the likes of Arundhati Roy to downplay the Godhra train carnage, the conviction of the 31 extremists will continue to decimate all conspiracy theories. Nonetheless, the far-left ‘author’ did not stop at that and continued –
“Modi had been appointed – not elected – chief minister of the state only a few months before the massacre. The film is not just the murdering, but also the 20-year journey that some victims made through India’s labyrinthine legal system, keeping the faith, hoping for justice and political accountability. It includes eyewitness testimonies, most poignantly from Imtiyaz Pathan, who lost ten members of his family in the “Gulbarg Society massacre” in which 60 people were murdered by a mob, including a former Member of Parliament Ehsan Jaffri who was dismembered and burnt alive. He was a political rival of Modi’s and had campaigned against him in a recent election. It was one of several similarly gruesome massacres that took place over those few days in Gujarat.”
The BBC film revealed an internal report commissioned by the British Foreign Office in April 2002, so far unseen by the public. The fact-finding report estimated that “at least 2,000” people had been murdered. It called the massacre a pre-planned pogrom which bore “all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing.” It said reliable contacts had informed them that the police had been ordered to stand down. The report laid the blame squarely at Modi’s door. After the Gujarat pogrom, the US denied him a visa. Modi won three consecutive elections and remained Gujarat’s chief minister until 2014. The ban was revoked after he became Prime Minister.
Following the 2002 Godhra train carnage and the subsequent riots, a section of the media and civil society portrayed then-Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the man ‘who orchestrated the riots.’ Although the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team gave him a clean chit in 2012, the same cabal continued peddling the same lies.
After having realised that their unsubstantiated claims were failing to convince people, the coterie began claiming that Narendra Modi did not ‘do enough’ to stop the riots. It’s a classical ruse used by propagandists to shift goalposts, every time they are caught lying red-handed. The story of Arundhati Roy is no different.
Hindenburg Research and OCCRP
Arundhati Roy also raked up the Adani-Hindenburg Research report controversy, which led to a fall of over $100 billion in the market cap for the Indian conglomerate. She accused the Modi government of favouring Adani and engaging in ‘crony capitalism.’
“A small US firm called Hindenburg Research which specialises in what is known as activist short-selling published what is now known as the Hindenberg Report, a detailed expose of shocking wrongdoing about India’s biggest corporation – the Adani group.
The Hindenburg Report accuses the Adani Group of engaging in a “brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme”, which – through the use of offshore shell entities – artificially overvalued its key listed companies and inflated the net worth of its chairman. According to the report, seven of Adani’s listed companies are overvalued by more than 85%. Modi and Adani have known each other for decades. Their friendship was consolidated after the 2002 Gujarat pogrom,” she claimed.
When the Hindenburg Research report was published on January 24, 2023, the Adani Group trashed the report as a ‘malicious combination of selective misinformation and stale, baseless and discredited allegations’. Later, it published a 413-page response and pointed out how the US-based investment research firm sought to benefit from its damning report.
“This is rife with conflict of interest and intended only to create a false market in securities to enable Hindenburg, an admitted short seller, to book massive financial gain through wrongful means at the cost of countless investors,” the Indian conglomerate had said back then.
George Soros and Ford Foundation may be planning another onslaught against Indian firms through OCCRP: Here is how the campaign may connect to NewsClick Chinese funding exposé— OpIndia.com (@OpIndia_com) August 25, 2023
(Writes @dibakardutta_ )https://t.co/Ukbe6BLPkn
While the share price of Adani Enterprises has recovered considerably, it is still below the price level before the report was out. She also made references to the George Soros-funded Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) report, which was published on August 31, 2023.
“The Hindenburg Report accuses Adani of pulling “the largest con in corporate history”. On August 30, the Guardian and the Financial Times published articles based on incriminating documents obtained by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project that further substantiate the Hindenburg Report,” Roy said.
The propaganda artist also accused Gautam Adani of helping Narendra Modi during the launch of the latter’s political career and funding ‘violent Hindu nationalism’ with his corporate money. She alleged that PM Modi returned the favour by supposedly helping him to grow his wealth in the past 9 years.
“Just as Adani stood by Modi in his time of need, the Modi government has stood by Adani and has refused to answer a single question raised by members of the opposition in Parliament, going so far as to expunge their speeches from the parliament record,” Arundhati Roy claimed.
Arundhati Roy calls for foreign intervention against India, cries foul over CAA and abrogation of Article 370
Throughout her address at the 45th Prix Européen de l’Essai, the controversial ‘author’ expressed her resentment for Western democracies for not acting against India and its democratically elected government.
This became evident when she claimed –
“None of this has made any difference whatsoever to the leaders of Western democracies. Within days of the Hindenburg-BBC moment, after “warm and productive” meetings, Prime Minister Modi, President Joe Biden and President Emmanuel Macron announced that India would be buying 470 Boeing and Airbus aircraft. Biden said the deal would create over million American jobs. The Airbus will be powered by Rolls Royce engines. “For the UK’s thriving aerospace sector,” PM Rishi Sunak said, “the sky is the limit.”
In July Modi travelled to the US on a State visit and to France as the Chief Guest on Bastille Day. Can you even begin to believe that? Macron and Biden fawned over him in the most embarrassing manner, knowing full well that this would be spun into pure campaign gold for the 2024 general elections in which Modi will stand for a third term. There is nothing they would not have known about the man they are embracing.“
Arundhati Roy was upset that NGOs such as Oxfam India and Amnesty International were raided by India’s central agencies for financial irregularities and violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) Rules.
“They would have known about the hounding of opposition politicians, students, human rights activists, lawyers and journalists, some of whom have received long prison sentences, about the attacks on universities by police and suspected Hindu nationalists, the rewriting of history textbooks, the banning of films, the shutdown of Amnesty International India, the raid on the India offices of the BBC, the activists, journalists and government critics placed on mysterious no-fly lists and the pressure on academics, both Indian and foreign,” she lamented.
A close reading of the legislation [pdf] tells us that CAA is aimed to fast-track the citizenship of religious minorities, from three neighbouring countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, who entered India illegally before December 31, 2014.
The law evidently does not apply to the Muslim community as they are not minorities in the above-mentioned countries. This law neither prevents any non-citizen from applying for citizenship nor takes away the citizenship of any individual. As such, it does not constitute discrimination in any way.
“They would have known about the situation in Kashmir, which beginning in 2019 was subjected to a monthslong communication blackout – the longest internet shutdown in a democracy – and whose journalists suffer harassment, arrest and interrogation. Nobody in the 21st century should have to live as they do, with a boot on their throats. They would have known about the Citizenship Amendment Act passed in 2019 that barefacedly discriminates against Muslims, the massive protests that it touched off and how those protests only ended after dozens of Muslims were killed the following year by Hindu mobs in Delhi (which, incidentally, took place while President Donald Trump was in town on a state visit, and about which he uttered not a word),” she said.
While calling for the world powers to insolate India and interfere in its internal affairs, Arundhati Roy emphasised,
“Still, the world’s powers choose to give Modi all the oxygen he needs to destroy the social fabric and burn India down. To me, this is a form of racism. They claim to be democrats, but they are racists. They don’t believe their professed “values” should apply to non-white countries. It’s an old story of course. It doesn’t matter. We will fight our own battle – and ultimately we will win our country back. However, if they imagine that the dismantling of democracy in India is not going to affect the whole world, they must indeed be delusional.“
Far-left author lies about Nuh riots, viral corporal punishment video
Without naming Gaurakshak Monu Manesar, the propaganda artist put the onus of the Islamist carnage in the Nuh district (Mewat region) on ‘a hugely popular Hindu vigilante.’ This was despite the fact that he was not even in Nuh when Islamists alleged mayhem on the streets in his name.
Roy also conveniently ignored the killing of 5 people (most Hindus) and presented Islamists as the victims, who had to defend themselves. She claimed, “The town of Nuh abuts Gurgaon, where major international corporations have their offices. The Hindus in the march carried machine guns and swords. The Muslims defended themselves. Predictably, the march ended in violence.”
Her only focus was the killing of an Islamic cleric, which did not even take place in Nuh but in far-off Gurugram as a form of counter-violence.
She also twisted the infamous ‘corporal punishment video from Muzaffarnagar and shamelessly gave it a communal spin.
“I have just watched a chilling little video filmed in a classroom of a small school. The teacher makes a Muslim child stand by her desk and asks the rest of the students, Hindu boys, to come up one by one and slap him. She admonishes those who haven’t hit him hard enough. The action taken so far has been that the Hindus in the village and the police have pressurised the Muslim family not to press charges. The Muslim boy’s school fee has been refunded and he has been taken out of school,” she claimed.
The incident took place at the Neha Public School in Khubbapur village in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh on August 24, 2023. When the matter came to light, the victim’s father categorically stated that there was no religious or Hindu-Muslim angle in this case.
Additionally, the cousin of the kid named Nadeem, who recorded the video, and the police also denied the communal angle. This however did not stop the leftist-Islamist ecosystem from reiterating the lies and creating an atmosphere of communal disharmony.
Towards the end of her propaganda-loaded speech, Arundhati Roy claimed, “We are braced for more bloodshed, mass killing, false-flag attacks, pretend-wars and anything to further polarise an already-polarised population…If Modi wins in 2024, all avenues of dissent will be shut down. None of you in this hall must pretend you didn’t know what was going on.”
Featured Image via Suki Dhanda/ Observer New Review
The article was first published in Opindia on September 16, 2023.