Author Arundhati Roy attacked the Narendra Modi-led government and said “efforts were being made to normalise Islamophobia” in the country, PTI reported on Friday. She also drew a parallel between Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler and the present situation in India.
Roy delivered the keynote address at the seventh edition of the Kolkata People’s Film Festival on Thursday. “The rhetoric of political address is at its worst now...as graphic as it is about spreading communal hatred,” she said. “It is also deceiving in the sense that it hides the true purpose of National Register of Citizens and Citizenship Amendment Act from common understanding.”
She said the citizenship law would affect economically deprived and marginalised Muslims, Dalits, and women at large. “The present-day India where legacy papers act as current day document is a slightly upturned version of Nazi Germany,” Roy alleged.
The author claimed nationwide protests have “blunted” Bharatiya Janata Party and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s power of communal hatred.
Roy also spoke about the Shaheen Bagh locality in Delhi, which has emerged as the epicentre of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens. “Muslim women are now coming out to raise their voice and this is a great thing,” she said. “This shows how Muslims can have a voice, so far they had been pushed out of the political arena, pushed out of media...Earlier, only people who were allowed to speak were the ones like the Maulanas.”
She added that it is a “moment of extreme empowerment and liberation” for the young Muslim women, The Telegraph reported. “Suddenly, you have these amazing young women, articulate and brilliant, political, radical, and they are not going to go back,” the author said. “When I say this, I don’t mean that they are going to have to live on the streets always.”
The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11 last year and notified on January 10, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014.
The Act, which has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims, triggered nationwide protests in December. At least 26 people died during demonstrations that month – all in the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Assam. In the North East, people have protested against the law as they believe it threatens the region’s indigenous cultures.