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LawMin yet to receive file on Geelani, Roy from MHA: Moily

delhi Updated: Oct 26, 2010 22:47 IST
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The Law Ministry is yet to receive any reference from the Home Ministry on the possibility of 'sedition' charges against Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani and writer Arundhati Roy for their recent remarks on Kashmir's 'azadi'.

"There has been no reference from the Home Ministry in this regard yet," Law Minister M Veerappa Moily told PTI here tonight when asked if any request for a legal opinion on the issue had been received.

At the same time, he also expressed concern over the remarks made by Geelani and Roy at a seminar on 'Azadi' here recently.

"Freedom of speech is a valuable right. We have to deal with it very cautiously...the statements are of great concern. It does not go with the national ethos," he said.

Dubbing the remarks as "most unfortunate," Moily said freedom of speech cannot violate patriotic sentiments of the people.

"Yes, there is freedom of can't violate the patriotic sentiments of the people," he said.

The Law Minister said in India there are people who support one view or the other since the time of Ramayana.

On BJP's allegations that government remained silent on the developments, he said, "Politics cannot be mixed with statements which border sedition."

Meanwhile, sources said that Home Ministry, after seeking opinion from its legal department, has asked the Delhi police to see under what charges Geelani and Roy can be booked.

The remarks made by Geelani and Roy at the seminar had evoked a strong reaction from BJP with its leader Arun Jaitley accusing the government of "looking the other way" when a number of separatist groups met at a conference to instigate sedition.

The Booker Prize winning author had said, "Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. It is a historical fact. Even the Indian government has accepted this."

At the convention on 'Azadi-- The Only Way', Geelani shared the stage with writer Arundhati Roy and pro-Maoist leader Vara Vara Rao among others. Geelani was heckled by the audience with one of them throwing a shoe.