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Increasing Rule of Mob Posing Threat to Freedom of Expression in India, Says Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy said that mob-based violence and attacks on literary and other forms of art were far more terrifying than the cycle of court cases she has undergone.

Mayank Mohanti | PTI

Updated:October 7, 2018, 9:53 PM IST
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Increasing Rule of Mob Posing Threat to Freedom of Expression in India, Says Arundhati Roy
New Delhi: Author and activist Arundhati Roy addresses a protest organised by the activists of Campaign against State Repression on Rights over various issues, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Friday, Aug 3, 2018. (Image: PTI)
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London:The Man Booker Prize winner author and activist Arundhati Roy has expressed her fear over an increasing rule of the mob in India, which poses a grave threat to freedom of expression in the country.

Roy, who won the world's leading literary prize for her debut novel 'The God of Small Things' in 1997, has herself been hauled into court over her writing.

"Censorship now has been outsourced to the mob. We have these various groups who simplify their own identity, appoint their own spokespersons, decide their own history, fake their own history and then start burning cinema halls, attacking people, burning books, killing people," Roy said, delivering the Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust (NIKMT) lecture here on Saturday.

The Delhi-based writer said that mob-based violence and attacks on literary and other forms of art were far more terrifying than the cycle of court cases she has undergone.

"The state has sort of moved out of the way of censorship and now it's the rule of the mob and this is more terrifying than being hauled up for contempt of court and arguing your case," she said.

During an in-conversation segment of the South Asia Institute event at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, Roy also spoke about the various influences on her writing as part of the lecture series set up by NIKMT in memory of World War II heroine Noor Inayat Khan, a descendant of Tipu Sultan, who fought for Britain against fascist forces before being captured and killed by the Nazis.

"We didn't want Noor just stuck in the pages of history," said Shrabani Basu, author of Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan' and Founder-Chair of NIKMT.
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