NEW DELHI - Prize-winning novelist Arundhati Roy, jailed for a day for contempt of court over a campaign to halt a huge dam project, opted on Thursday to pay a fine rather than serve a further three months in jail.
Award winning author Arundhati Roy, center, celebrates on Thursday March 7, 2002 after being released from Tihar Jail in New Delhi. The Supreme Court found Roy guilty of criminal contempt of court on Wednesday and sentenced her to a day of "symbolic imprisonment." Roy, whose novel "God of Small Things" won Britain's Booker Prize, was also fined 2,000 rupees (dlrs 42). (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
"I have paid the fine. I have made my point but I stand by what I said. The citizens of this country must stand up for their rights," Roy told Reuters as she left Tihar Jail in New Delhi to the cheers of her supporters.
Roy, who vaulted to fame in 1997 when her first novel "The God of Small Things" won Britain's Booker Prize, spent Wednesday night in jail after the Supreme Court sentenced her to one day in prison and fined her 2,000-rupees.
She had faced a further three months in jail if she failed to pay the fine.
Roy told Reuters she had not decided yet whether to seek a review of the Supreme Court's decision.
Her conviction stemmed from Roy's part in a protest over the billion-dollar construction of India's biggest hydroelectric project on the Narmada River in western India.
Critics say the dam will cause widespread environmental damage but supporters say the project is needed to provide power to the energy-strapped country.
Roy's supporters staged a night-long vigil outside the prison -- Asia's largest -- and gave her bouquets of flowers when she was released.
A contempt case against Roy was dismissed last year, but her passionately worded defence affidavit, filed in response to the proceedings, was declared in contempt of court and resulted in Wednesday's conviction.
Roy's prize-winning novel, a tale of a twin brother and sister in southern India, became an international best-seller.
But she has not written any fiction since, taking up cudgels instead against the dam project.
Copyright 2002 Reuters Ltd