Man Booker Prize winner and activist Arundhati Roy on Saturday said that the only politician who is openly attacking Modi is Rahul Gandhi. She was talking with British political activist and intellectual Tariq Ali over a digital discussion on ‘Coronavirus, War, and Empire’ organised by ‘StoptheWarCoalition’. Former labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn was also there in the webinar on Zoom. The three heavyweight social activists came together to discuss the various issues such as Coronavirus, Blacklivesmatter, China, India, Kashmir and much more besides.

On opening the discussion, Arundhati Roy expressed the opinion of being the lockdown in West as social distancing while it on India as physical compression. She went on saying that it was the compression of people into slums, buses, trains, migrant labour camps, etc. And she added that there was double devastation in India. One way the people were hammered economically and other it is Covid-19.

Responding to a question on return of normalcy, Roy said she does not think it will be restored with India having a double hit and the government is trying a communal narrative to make people forget hardships caused by Covid-19. “This is by Hindu nationalist, anti-muslim rhetoric, also by arresting students, activists, etc. and then by preaching the most horrific vicious bile on the mainstream media that it controls. They are trying to sell this hatred,” she said.

To a question by Ali whether there is no Opposition at all in the country, Roy said the only politician who is openly opposing Modi is Rahul Gandhi and he doesn’t really have much support but he is doing it. “Everyone else, whether they are state parties or in central level, they are in complete disarray. One doesn’t know why. All of them have some sort of cases. One by one they have been cornered into kind of keeping quiet or facing legal process. I don’t know the reasons,” she said. She said that all she knew was that whether it was a politician or bureaucrat or industrialist, everyone’s brain is frozen with fear because the minute they speak out, they are attacked viciously. Being trolled, threatened and all of that is one part. The attack is merciless. So there is so much fear.

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