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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Delhi LG Sanctions Prosecution of Arundhati Roy under Anti-Terror Law

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In a significant development, the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, VK Saxena, has sanctioned the prosecution of noted author Arundhati Roy and former Professor of International Law at the Central University of Kashmir, Dr. Sheikh Showkat Hussain.

The prosecution is sanctioned under Section 45(1) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) concerning FIR No. 258/2010 dated November 29, 2010. The charges include serious offenses under Sections 124-A, 153A, 153B, 504, and 505 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as Section 13 of the UAPA.

The case originates from a complaint filed by Sushil Pandit on October 28, 2010. This complaint led to the registration of the FIR. Earlier, in October 2023, LG Saxena had granted sanction under Section 196 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to prosecute Roy and Hussain for offenses punishable under Sections 153A, 153B, and 505 of the IPC.

The allegations against Roy and Hussain stem from their participation in a conference titled “Azadi – The Only Way,” held on October 21, 2010, at the LTG Auditorium, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi. At this event, the discussions allegedly centered on the advocacy of Kashmir’s separation from India.

Prominent figures who delivered speeches at the conference included Syed Ali Shah Geelani, SAR Geelani, Arundhati Roy, Dr. Sheikh Showkat Hussain, and Maoist sympathizer Vara Vara Rao. It is claimed that Geelani and Roy strongly propagated the narrative that Kashmir had never been an integral part of India and had been forcibly occupied by the Indian Armed Forces. They reportedly called for all possible efforts to secure the independence of Jammu and Kashmir from India. These speeches were recorded and submitted by the complainant as evidence.

Following the complaint, a petition under Section 156(3) of the CrPC was filed by the complainant before the Metropolitan Magistrate (MM) Court in New Delhi. The court, in an order dated November 27, 2010, directed the registration of an FIR, leading to the commencement of an investigation.

The sanction for prosecution under UAPA signifies the gravity of the charges and the government’s stance on the matter. This case is expected to have significant legal and political ramifications, given the high-profile nature of the individuals involved and the sensitive issue of Kashmir’s political status.

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