[Reader-list] HC glare on Roy hubby house by RASHEED KIDWAI

Aditya Raj Kaul kauladityaraj at gmail.com
Wed Nov 17 16:23:29 IST 2010

HC glare on Roy hubby house

*Link* - http://www.telegraphindia.com/1101117/jsp/nation/story_13187337.jsp

*Bhopal, Nov. 16: *Writer-activist Arundhati Roy’s house in hill resort
Panchmarhi is under threat following the rejection of an appeal in Madhya
Pradesh High Court.

The court has asked Arundhati’s husband, filmmaker Pradeep Kishan, to appear
before a sub-divisional magistrate.

The order comes four years after the Madhya Pradesh government had served a
notice on Kishan and others for encroaching on tribal land.

The bungalow owned by Kishan is in Bariyam village of Panchmarhi, 250km
south-east of Bhopal and part of the Panchmarhi special area development
authority created to protect wildlife in the region.

In Bhopal, the buzz is that the Shivraj Singh Chauhan-led BJP regime is in a
mood to “punish” Roy following her support for “azaadi” in the Kashmir

Chauhan had recently gone on record suggesting jail as an “ideal place” for
Roy for her “seditious pronouncements”.

Roy and Kishan got embroiled in the land controversy in 2003 when the local
administration claimed their elevated bungalow overlooking twin hillocks and
vast rolling greens was in notified forest land. Then SDM Niyaz Ahmad of
Pipariya had acted upon a complaint filed by Vijay Singh, a tribal, that
Roy’s husband and three others, including Aradhana Seth, sister of writer
Vikram Seth, had allegedly encroached on tribal land.

In his affidavit, Vijay had accused them of constructing a cemented road to
their bungalows without bothering to obtain permission or pay adequate

Senior government officials who did not wish to be named said Kishan had
bought the 4,346sqft plot in 1994. The government subsequently filed a suit
arguing that the Forest Act of 1972 banned the sale of land in notified
forest areas. Section 18 of the law bars buying and selling of notified
forest land.

Roy has also been a controversial figure in Madhya Pradesh.

A few years ago, she campaigned for the rights of Bhopal gas survivors and
villagers displaced by the Sardar Sarovar dam. Soon after winning the Booker
in 1997, she joined Medha Patkar’s fight, saying the Narmada dam was a
“fault line” between the rich and the poor.

Today, she is having to contend with sarcastic comments from state BJP
leaders who want her reaction to her husband “trampling upon the rights of
hundreds and thousands of animal species”.

A state BJP spokesperson said: “Perhaps it’s time for Arundhati to look into
her own backyard. Instead of extending support to Kashmiri separatists and
Naxalites, she should consider the plight of helpless animals who have been
driven out of forest land simply because they do not have an Arundhati to
speak for them.”

If the SDM’s verdict goes against them, Roy, Kishan and the others can
appeal to Manoj Srivastva, commissioner, Bhopal and Narmadapuram
(Hoshangabad) division.

Reprieve may come at another level, too, if the Supreme Court accepts a
court-appointed empowered panel’s finding that Bariyam doesn’t fall in the
category of a forest village despite being in the heart of a forest.

More information about the reader-list mailing list