Letter to PTI against concocted report on
Arundhati Roy's speech at Mumbai
09 June, 2010
Hutatma Chowk, Mumbai
Re: your report of Arundhati Roy's talk in Mumbai:
The PTI report of the speech made by Arundhati Roy in Mumbai at a
meeting organised by the CPDR (Committee for the protection of
Democratic Rights) on June 2nd in Mumbai, was in many respects false.
The report has ripped sentences and phrases from her presentation and
re-arranged them in a way as to completely misrepresent what she said.
The report also contains statements attributed to her which were in
many material respects, false.
At the meeting Roy went on record to say she was against the killing
of innocents and as correctly reported in the Times of India, Mumbai
edition, June 3, 2010, that she was not here to defend killing by any
side. She said that the Maoists were the most militant end of a
spectrum of resistance movements all of who are protesting corporate
landgrab and that the government deals with all of them with
antagonism and repression. Contrary to the PTI report, she did NOT say
that she will continue to back the Maoists' armed struggle even if
she is put behind bars. She did NOT call upon the government to put
her in jail for supporting Maoists, nor did she offer support to the
Maoists. In fact, the Times of India, Mumbai edition, June 3, 2010,
reports that she stated that Maoists have revolutionary methods but
not a revolutionary vision and their mining policy is not very
different from that of the state. They too would mine the bauxite
instead of leaving it in the hills, which is what the people they are
fighting for want. The Times further correctly records that she said
We need a vision outside of capitalism as also communism Thus, in
fact, she posed many serious questions to the Maoists. Roy said that
the huge mining contracts in the heart of the tribal areas in central
India pose a threat not only to tribals but to entire humanity, given
the damage they will do to the environment. All these, which were the
most significant part and the real gist of her talk, have been
completely and blithely ignored by your staff reporter.
She did try to analyse the reasons why people take arms, why in
particular tribal people are forced to take arms and she refused to
support the military solution of the Home Ministry. Contrary to what
has been set out in the PTI report, Roy did not say that It ought
(emphasis added) to be an armed movement. We are not aware of her
having saluted the "people of Dantewada" after 76 CRPF and police
personnel were mowed down by Maoists in the deadliest attack targeting
security forces. At the meeting she most certainly did NOT do so.
It is worth mentioning that the Hindu too did an accurate story on
June 3 and interestingly PTI came up with this false and concocted
version the next day, which was then picked up by Indian Express. TOI
Delhi, NDTV, IBN Live, Economic Times and several Hindi and other
language papers on June 4th who published this even though many of
them had their own reporters present at the event.
It is unfortunate that the PTI has stooped to the level that it has
done, disregarding all the rules of ethical reporting.
Rahul Bose, Datta Iswalkar, Dr. Anand Teltumbde, P K Das (24308877),
Anand Patwardhan (24143782), Meena Menon (98210 38474)