Holding an Opinion Against Govt Is Treated As Sedition: Aruna Roy

Spaces of debate and disagreement are “shrinking” in the country, warned activist Aruna Roy at JLF

Published
India
2 min read
Activist Aruna Roy.
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Jaipur, Jan 25 (PTI) Spaces of debate and disagreement are "shrinking" in the country, warned activist Aruna Roy, who said holding a mere opinion against the government is akin to "sedition" these days.

Aruna Roy was speaking at the session, "The Right To Know", on the second day of the Jaipur Literature Festival at the Diggi Palace here on Friday.

"When you close the space for dialogue and when you say that certain kind of thought is itself seditious this is when you are on a very dangerous ground," said Roy.

Referring to the case of Anand Teltumbde, a social justice activist booked by the Pune police in Bhima Koregaon violence, she argued that the situation was particulary worrying for an information activist as asking for "information of any sorts" can be termed "seditious".

"Anand Teltumbde has been told he is working against the state and thereby possibly going to be accused of sedition. This is very worrying for an information activist because information of any sort can be termed seditious.

"Like, if you ask my local revenue official, who gives me information about the ownership of land, will tell you that we are all anti-state because we are asking for information from him," she added.

Roy, who recently came out with "The RTI Stories" authored by her along with the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) collective, left the Indian Administrative Service in 1975 to co-found the MKSS collective.

She was also the leader of the Right To Information (RTI) movement in India which successfully paved way for the RTI Act in 2005.

Activist Harsh Mander was also part of the discussion moderated by feminist writer Urvashi Butalia.

She concluded the session by reciting some of the lines of famous South-Indian poet late Subramania Bharti, where he talks of an old lady who is about to die because of hunger.

"I don't have gruel and I am going to die but more important for me then not having gruel is the right to say that I don't have gruel," she quoted the author.

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