January 31, 2021 2:20:19 am
Author Arundhati Roy on Saturday called for a united fight against “Bramhanical” and “capitalist” forces in the country and that the struggle should be named as “Satya Shodhak Resistance (SSR)” against the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
“Ye wajood ki ladai hai (This is a fight for existence)… In this city (Pune) where Dr B R Ambedkar was ‘blackmailed’ to sign the Poona Pact, the place where Savitribai and Jyotiba Phule did their revolutionary work, we can name our struggle… May be, it should be called ‘Satya Shodhak Resistance’ (SSR)… RSS ke khilaf khada SSR…,” she said, speaking at the ‘Elgaar Parishad 2021’held in Pune.
Roy read out her speech in Hindi titled “Ek Ladai Mohabbat Ki”. She alleged that the RSS is leading the “Bramhanwadi (castiest)” forces and has taken control of the country through Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Roy also alleged that corporate companies and media houses in the country are dominated by the “Bramhan-Baniyas”. In her speech, Roy criticised the policies of the Modi government.
She expressed solidarity with the farmers’ agitation and demanded that the three new farm laws be repealed. Roy appreciated the protests held across the country against the Citizenship Amendments Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).
She also extended support to the various activists arrested for their alleged links with the CPI-Maoist in connection with the controversial Elgaar Parishad organised at the Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017. As per Pune police investigation, the 2017 Elgaar Parishad was organised as per the strategy of the banned CPI-Maoist. Police claimed that “provocative” speeches at the conference and during its campaign were among factors that aggravated the violence at Koregaon Bhima on January 1, 2018, and arrested Elgaar Parishad organiser Sudhir Dawale and artists of Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) along with several others including Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Varavara Rao and Stan Swamy for their alleged links with the CPI-Maoist in this case.
Activists of ‘Bhima Koregaon Shourya Din Prerna Abhiyan’, who blame Hindutva leaders Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote for the Koregaon Bhima violence, decided to hold the Elgaar Parishad again on December 31, 2020, but Pune police denied permission citing Covid-19 and law and order reasons.
Police, however, granted permission for the Elgaar Parishad 2021 event held on Saturday, which is the birth anniversary of Rohith Vemula, a research scholar of University of Hyderabad whose suicide raised an uproar among Dalits in 2016. The day-long conference was inaugurated at the Ganesh Kala Krida Manch.
Kannan Gopinathan, another speaker at the conference, appreciated the idea of reviving the Elgaar Parishad. Gopinathan is a former IAS officer who resigned from services in protest against the abrogation of Article 370. “State and non-state violence are two methods used for silencing a struggle… By reviving Elgaar Parishad, a message has been conveyed that we cannot be silenced,” he said.
Abeda Tadvi, mother of Dr Payal Tadvi whose suicide in Mumbai had sparked protests, said her daughter died because of the alleged caste discrimination at the Nair hospital where she was pursuing master’s degree. Journalist Prashant Kanojia, who faced repeated arrests by the UP police, Sharjeel Usmani, a former student leader from Aligarh Muslim University arrested in connection with violence during the anti-CAA protests, also spoke at the event. Usmani alleged attacks against Muslims have been normalised in the country.
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