Stating that only people should have the right to decide whether to sell their land or not, Booker prize winning author and activist Arundhati Roy slammed the Punjab government for forcibly acquiring land at Gobindpura near Mansa. The author was in Kussa village in Moga on Sunday where a function was held to pay tribute to theatre activist Gursharan Singh who died last week.
Addressing a huge gathering Roy said: The state government does not have any right to forcibly remove people from the land in which people earn their livelihood. This land (Gobindpura) belongs to the farmers and they should decide whether they want to sell it or not. Roy also hit out at the Centres policies. In Punjab land holdings are dwindling and in a situation like this the state government should ensure that the land stays with the farmers and not acquire land from them. It is sad to see that a nation where a large majority is poor and marginalised,the policies and welfare schemes are made for a small minority. This skewed vision of the central government has created a huge divide between the haves and the have nots, she went on to add.
Meanwhile farmers,writers,civil society groups and artistes paid rich tributes to theatre activist Gursharan Singh who passed away on September 28 after a prolonged illness. Paying homage to Singh,Roy said: Gursharan was not merely a theatre personality but an activist who bonded art with the social sentiments of the people.
Dr Areet,Gursharan Singhs daughter also paid a tearful tribute to her father. My father educated and inspired the people to fight for their rights through theatre at the village level that touched the common masses to a great extent,Areet said.