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Delhi LG Sanctions Prosecution of Arundhati Roy and Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain Under UAPA

New Delhi: Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena has granted sanction to prosecute renowned author and activist Arundhati Roy and former Professor of International Law at the Central University of Kashmir, Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain, under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The case dates back to 2010 and revolves around allegations related to provocative speeches made at a conference.

The First Information Report (FIR) was filed based on a complaint lodged by Sushil Pandit, a social activist from Kashmir, on October 28, 2010. The speeches in question were delivered during the ‘Azadi – The Only Way’ conference held on October 21, 2010, at LTG Auditorium, Copernicus Marg. The conference purportedly advocated for the separatism of Kashmir from India.

Last October, the Lieutenant Governor approved the prosecution under Section 196 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) for offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC): 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).

Additionally, the accused face charges under Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, which include sedition, promoting enmity between different groups, intentional insult to provoke a breach of peace, and making assertions prejudicial to national integration.

The conference reportedly had attendees such as Arundhati Roy, Syed Ali Shah Geelani (chairman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat), SAR Geelani (accused in the Parliament attack case), and Varvara Rao (a Maoist sympathizer). Allegations suggest that they advocated that Kashmir was never a part of India and was forcibly occupied by the Indian Armed Forces, advocating for the independence of Jammu and Kashmir from India.

The Delhi Police had sought prosecution sanction under Section 196 of the CrPC for offences under Sections 153A, 153B, 504, 505 of the IPC, and Section 13 of the UAPA, 1967 against Arundhati Roy and Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain.

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