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Wednesday July 17, 2024

Indian author charged under anti-terrorism act for Kashmir advocacy

Arundhati Roy and Sheikh Showkat Hussain's prosecution stems from complaint filed by Sushil Pandit in 2010

By Web Desk
June 15, 2024
Indian author Arundhati Roy speaks during a press conference in New Delhi on October 22, 2020. — AFP
Indian author Arundhati Roy speaks during a press conference in New Delhi on October 22, 2020. — AFP

Delhi's Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena has approved the prosecution of Indian author Arundhati Roy and former Kashmir law professor Sheikh Showkat Hussain under India's Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

The decision follows an alleged "provocative" speech by Roy during a conference on Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) in 2010.

According to India Today, the conference also featured speakers such as Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Syed Abdul Rahman Geelani.

The prosecution stems from a complaint filed by Sushil Pandit, leading to the registration of a first information report (FIR) against Roy and Hussain 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 Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act?

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.