Arundhati Roy urges Centre to drop armed action against Maoists

      Noted Human Rights activist and Booker prize winner, Arundhati Roy, on Monday accused the Union Government for harbouring vested interests behind its armed offensive against the Maoists. Addressing media in the national capital, Roy urged the government not to take armed action against the red ultras. "They want to clear these forests and they want to open it up for the companies. They have signed hundreds of MoU'S and in places like Jharkhand, not one of them is being actualised. So, there is this kind of desperation that's what's going on, you know. Otherwise, why should it be that after 60 years you point a gun at the tribal's head and say I have to give you development," said Roy . She also accused the Government of suppressing the voice against it, by labelling it as Maoist. Roy further said that the Government is exaggerating the threat as an excuse to deal with everybody in an undemocratic manner. “They actually would like to exaggerate the threat in order to define everybody with the same brush and then deal with everybody in a totally undemocratic military way. So, this is what's happening and obviously people are taking positions along these lines,” she said. The insurgents, who say they are waging war on behalf of the poor and the landless against the state, have taken effective control of large swathes of the countryside, scaring off potential investors while in control of land rich in minerals. Hundreds are killed in Maoist violence each year, as forces clash with rebels and civilians get caught in the crossfire. They also extort money from businesses and industry, and have opposed construction of a steel plant in West Bengal.

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