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Tuesday, 28 August, 2001, 19:30 GMT 20:30 UK
Legal challenge for top author
Protest against Narmada Dam
The dam project is opposed by environmentalists
The Booker prize-winning author, Arundhati Roy, is facing fresh legal problems in connection with remarks she made about a legal decision to allow work on the controversial Narmada Dam project.

Arundhati Roy
Arundhati Roy: Allegedly made disrespectful remarks
The Indian Supreme Court has issued what is known as a "show cause notice" to the world famous writer, which could well lead to some kind of punishment - even if minor.

Miss Roy took part in a demonstration in December to underline her opposition to the court's decision to allow the resumption of work at the dam.

She was supported by other environmental campaigners, including the leading anti-dam activist, Medha Patkar.

The court issued a notice to the writer for having allegedly made disrespectful remarks at the time about its ruling in relation to the dam.

Controversy

Over the years, the project has attracted a great deal of controversy with a movement led by Ms Patkar questioning its promised benefits at the cost of large-scale human displacement.

The court has now asked Ms Roy to demonstrate why she should not now be held in contempt for having imputed malign motives to its earlier notice.

It ruled that certain portions of Ms Roy's statement were made on the basis of evidence which is contemptuous, especially when she accused the court of harassment.

This is the third time the Booker prize-winner has been issued a notice in this case.

Last year, the court did not take further action against Ms Roy for writing critical articles on issues surrounding the Narmada Dam which included strong criticism of judicial proceedings.

The writer has said that the court is welcome to take the necessary action if it continues to consider her guilty of contempt.

See also:

23 Oct 00 | South Asia
Protest against controversial dam
18 Oct 00 | South Asia
Go-ahead for India dam project
12 Jan 00 | South Asia
Author released after dam protest
29 Jul 99 | South Asia
Narmada: A history of controversy
29 Jul 99 | South Asia
Narmada: The threat to local villages
Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.


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