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Indians Abroad for Pluralist India (IAPI) has launched an online petition asking Canadian Parliament to give Indian author Arundhati Roy Honorary Citizenship.

A Booker Prize winner and an author of international fame, Roy is known for her strong stand on human rights, social equality and democracy.

Based in India, Roy has been facing death threats and intimidation for questioning the power and standing up for the underdog. She has been consistently raising her voice through writings and public lectures for religious minorities and oppressed communities at personal risk. Not only has she tirelessly tried to raise awareness on these issues through her essays and storytelling, she has time and again showed up at the grassroots level movements against displacement and state repression of poor and tribal peoples.

She has a big following not only in India, but all over the world. She visited Vancouver at least twice, once during Indian Summer Festival and once to promote her latest novel Ministry of Utmost Happiness.

IAPI was established in 2017 by members of the Indian Diaspora in BC in response to growing attacks on religious minorities and social justice activists under a right wing Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party government in New Delhi.

IAPI believes that Roy deserves such an honour, which has earlier been given to several well-respected individuals, such as Nelson Mandela, Dalai Lama and Malala Yousafzai for standing up for human rights. Early in October, Aung San Suu Kyi was stripped of Honorary Citizenship under international and domestic pressure for her silence over the persecution of Rohingya Muslims.

Surrey Centre Member Parliament Randeep Singh Sarai has sponsored the petition numbered E-1896 which can be found on the Canadian House of Commons website by going on the link petitions.ourcommons.ca

If the petition succeeds, Roy will be the first person of Indian origin to be given Honorary Canadian Citizenship in recognition of her work on human rights in the world’s so called largest democracy.

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