Writer and activist Arundhati Roy on Tuesday reacted to the news of police raids at the homes of human rights activists in multiple cities across the country. “It is as close to a declaration of an Emergency as we will ever get,” the Booker-prize winning author said.
On Tuesday morning, teams of the Pune Police raided the houses of activists in Mumbai, Ranchi, Hyderabad, Delhi, Faridabad and Goa. Among those whose houses were searched are Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira in Mumbai, Gautam Navlakha in New Delhi, Sudha Bharadwaj in Faridabad and Stan Swamy in Ranchi. In Hyderabad, raids were reported from the homes of Varavara Rao and his family members, and two other activists, Kranti and Naseem. In Goa, Dalit scholar Anand Teltumbde’s house was raided in his absence. Police reportedly took the keys from the security guard and walked in.
Some of these activists have been detained by police. The raids are said to be connected to investigations into a public meeting organised days before caste-related violence erupted at Bhima Koregaon near Pune on January 1.
Reacting to these raids and detentions, Roy said that anybody who speaks up for justice or against Hindu majoritarianism is being made into a criminal.
“That the raids are taking place on the homes of lawyers, poets, writers, Dalit rights activists and intellectuals – instead of on those who make up lynch mobs and murder people in broad daylight – tells us very clearly where India is headed,” she added.
“What is happening is absolutely perilous,” she said. “It is in preparation for the coming elections. We cannot allow this to happen. We have to all come together. Otherwise we will lose every freedom that we cherish.”