War of words between Opposition, BJP over Delhi L-G action against Arundhati Roy | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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War of words between Opposition, BJP over Delhi L-G action against Arundhati Roy

By | Edited by Aniruddha Dhar
Jun 15, 2024 12:14 PM IST

The FIR against Arundhati Roy and Sheikh Showkat Hussain was registered following the orders of a Delhi court, Raj Niwas officials said.

The Opposition and the Bharatiya Janata Party have engaged in a war of words after Delhi lieutenant governor VK Saxena gave his nod to prosecute author Arundhati Roy and Sheikh Showkat Hussain, a former professor in Kashmir, under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for allegedly making provocative speeches at an event in New Delhi in 2010.

Arundhati Roy won the Man Booker Prize in 1997 for her debut novel The God of Small Things.(AP)
Arundhati Roy won the Man Booker Prize in 1997 for her debut novel The God of Small Things.(AP)

The FIR against Arundhati Roy and Sheikh Showkat Hussain was registered following the orders of the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate, New Delhi, Raj Niwas officials said on Friday.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) condemned the action against Arundhati Roy and claimed that the move “defies logic except the fascist kind”.

Also Read | BJP explains sanction for Arundhati Roy's prosecution to counter Chidambaram's 'no tolerance' dig

“Condemnable! The Delhi LG has granted permission to prosecute Arundhati Roy under the draconian UAPA for a speech reportedly made 14 years ago – in 2010. Defies logic except the fascist kind. Timing is suspect since courts are on vacation, as are lawyers. Shameful and Condemnable!” the CPI(M) said in a post on X (formally Twitter).

Congress leader Hariprasad BK also reacted strongly to the development.

“Fascism thrives on crushing dissent, particularly from intellectuals, artists, writers, poets & activists. BJP manufacture crises daily to distract and overwhelm dissenters enabling them to divert attention from their failures. This assault on free expression & democratic values is unacceptable,” Hariprasad BK posted on X.

Trinamool Congress MP-elect Mahua Moitra also came out in the actor's support.

“If by prosecuting Arundhati Roy under UAPA BJP trying to prove they’re back, well they’re not. And they’ll never be back the same way they were. This kind of fascism is exactly what Indians have voted against,” Mahua Moitra said.

Meanwhile, the BJP hit out at the Congress for allegedly being empathetic towards “separatist and terrorist organisations”.

“Delhi LG approves prosecution of Arundhati Roy under UAPA. Why is the Congress ecosystem rattled? First they support & take support from SDPI and now they cry for separatists. Does it not believe Kashmir is integral part of Bharat? From Afzal to Yakub - Congress puts Votebank niti above Rashtra niti ?” Shehzad Poonawalla wrote on X while sharing a news clip of HT.

FIR against Arundhati Roy

The FIR in the matter was registered on a complaint made by Sushil Pandit, a social activist from Kashmir, on October 28, 2010.

"Delhi Lt Governor VK Saxena has sanctioned the prosecution of Arundhati Roy and former Professor of International Law in Central University of Kashmir, Dr. Sheikh Showkat Hussain, under section 45 (1) of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the case," a Raj Niwas official said on Friday.

Last October, the LG had granted sanction to prosecute them under section 196 of CrPC for commission of offences punishable under different sections of the Indian Penal Code: 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief).

What did Arundhati Roy, Sheikh Showkat Hussain say?

Arundhati Roy and Sheikh Showkat Hussain had allegedly made provocative speeches at a conference organised under the banner of 'Azadi - The Only Way' on October 21, 2010, at LTG Auditorium, Copernicus Marg, in New Delhi.

"The issues discussed and spoken about at the conference propagated the separation of Kashmir from India," said an official told news agency PTI.

Those who delivered speeches at the conference included Syed Ali Shah Geelani, SAR Geelani (anchor of the Conference and prime accused in the Parliament attack case), Arundhati Roy, Sheikh Showkat Hussain and Varavara Rao.

The complainant filed a complaint under Section 156(3) of CrPC before the Metropolitan Magistrate Court, New Delhi, who disposed the complaint on November 27, 2010 with the directions to register an FIR.

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