Indian author to face prosecution under anti-terror law over Kashmir remarks

Arundhati Roy's prosecution approval comes after Sushil Pandit's 14-year-old allegations against her "provocative" speeches

Web Desk
Indian author Arundhati Roy. — AFP/File
  • Prosecution of former IIOJK law professor also approved.
  • Kashmiri politico Mufti surprised over Roy's prosecution.
  • Prosecution to take place following complaint made in 2010.

Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena sanctioned the prosecution of Indian author Arundhati Roy under India's strict Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) over her purportedly "provocative" speech during a conference on Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) in 2010, India Today reported.

Saxena also approved the prosecution of former Kashmir law professor Sheikh Showkat Hussain, who also featured as one of the speakers at the same conference where Roy delivered her speech. The conference also featured Kashmiri speakers Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Syed Abdul Rahman Geelani.

According to officials from the governor's office, also known as Raj Bhavan, the first information report (FIR) against Roy and Hussain was registered after an order of a Metropolitan Magistrate court in New Delhi following a complaint by Sushil Pandit, in October 2010.

Pandit had alleged that Roy and Hussain had made "provocative speeches at a conference organised under the banner of 'Azadi - The Only Way'" in New Delhi, discussing issues that "propagated the 'separation of Kashmir from India'", according to India Today.

Following the approval, former chief minister of IIOJK Mehbooba Mufti voiced her surprise over the news and said that the "Indian state continues to violate fundamental rights".

What is UAPA?

The UAPA Act, passed in 1967 to prevent unlawful activities associations in India, has death penalty and life imprisonment as highest punishments.

"Unlawful activities" refers to any action taken by an individual or association intended to disrupt the "territorial integrity and sovereignty" of the country.

Under UAPA, both Indian and foreign nationals can be charged. It will be applicable to the offenders in the same manner, even if crime is committed outside India.