New Delhi: In a significant development, Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena has given the nod for the prosecution of renowned author Arundhati Roy and former professor of the Central University of Kashmir, Sheikh Showkat Hussain, over their alleged provocative remarks made in 2010. The decision comes in light of the speeches delivered by the duo during a seminar titled “Azadi: The Only Way”, which was held in the national capital.
The FIR against Roy and Hussain was initiated following the directives of the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate, New Delhi. The charges against them include promoting enmity between different groups based on religion, race, place of birth, and language, as well as making assertions prejudicial to national integration. They have also been charged under Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967.
The seminar, which has now come under scrutiny, saw the participation of other notable figures, including the then chairman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, former Delhi University professor Syed Abdul Rehman Geelani, and Maoist sympathizer Varvara Rao. Notably, both the Geelanis have passed away during the course of the case’s proceedings.
The case was brought to the fore by Sushil Pandit, a social activist from Kashmir, who lodged a complaint against various participants of the seminar. Pandit alleged that the central theme of the seminar was “Separation of Kashmir from India” and that the speeches made during the event were of a provocative nature, potentially endangering public peace and security.
While the charges of sedition were initially considered, the LG refrained from sanctioning their prosecution under Section 124A (Sedition) of the IPC. This decision aligns with the Supreme Court’s directive from May 2022, which called for all pending trials and proceedings under sedition charges to be kept in abeyance.
Who is Arundhati Roy?
Arundhati Roy, born on November 24, 1961, is an acclaimed Indian author best known for her novel “The God of Small Things”, which won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1997. The novel, which is semi-autobiographical, is a poignant exploration of the Indian socio-political landscape, familial ties, and the complexities of love.
Beyond her literary achievements, Roy is also recognized for her activism on various social and environmental causes. She has been a vocal critic of India’s nuclear weapons program, big dam projects, and the country’s economic policies. Her essays, collected in volumes like “Field Notes on Democracy” and “Capitalism: A Ghost Story”, offer scathing critiques of the global economic order and its impact on developing nations.
Roy’s outspoken nature has often landed her in controversies, especially with her views on Kashmir, the Maoist movement in India, and her criticism of the Indian government’s policies. Despite facing criticism and legal challenges, she remains steadfast in her commitment to raising awareness about issues she believes in.
As of now, neither Arundhati Roy nor Sheikh Showkat Hussain have issued any public statement regarding the LG’s decision.