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Arundhati Roy to be tried under anti-terror law for her Kashmir speech

The case began with a police complaint filed by a social activist in 2010 after speeches by Arundhati Roy and others at a conference in Delhi.

Arundhati Roy won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel, ‘The God of Small Things.’ (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Delhi’s federally-appointed lieutenant-governor (LG) VK Saxena has approved the prosecution of Booker Prize-winning author Arundhati Roy and former professor Sheikh Showkat Hussain under the anti-terror law, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), for comments made about Kashmir in 2010.

The case began with a police complaint filed by social activist Sushil Pandit in 2010 after speeches by Roy and others at a conference organised by a rights group. Following a Delhi court’s orders, an FIR was registered against Roy and Hussain.

In India, state government permission is required for prosecution in cases involving hate speech, sedition, and promoting enmity.

“Delhi lieutenant-governor VK Saxena has sanctioned the prosecution of Arundhati Roy and former Professor of International Law in Central University of Kashmir, Sheikh Showkat Hussain, under section 45 (1) of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the case,” a government official said on Friday.

Last October, the LG had also sanctioned their prosecution under section 196 of CrPC for offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code: 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 153B (assertions prejudicial to national integration), and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief).

Roy and Hussain allegedly made provocative speeches at a conference titled ‘Azadi – The Only Way’ on October 21, 2010, at LTG Auditorium, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi. “The issues discussed and spoken about at the conference propagated the separation of Kashmir from India,” said the official.

Speakers at the conference included Syed Ali Shah Geelani, SAR Geelani, Arundhati Roy, Sheikh Showkat Hussain, and Varavara Rao. The complaint, filed under Section 156(3) of CrPC, led to a Delhi court directing the registration of an FIR on November 27, 2010.

An investigation was conducted following the FIR.

Arundhati Roy won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel, “The God of Small Things.”

(Agencies)

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