NEW DELHI: Delhi Lieutenant Governor V. K. Saxena on Friday sanctioned the prosecution of novelist Arundhati Roy for allegedly making provocative statements at a 2010 event propagating Kashmir’s separation from India.

The order cited Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), The Hindu newspaper said. Saxena had already sanctioned prosecution under several sections of the Indian Penal Code last year.

The lieutenant governor (L-G) also sanctioned the prosecution under UAPA of Sheikh Showkat Hussain, a former professor of international law at the Central University of Kashmir, for his alleged statements at the same event — a conference organised in New Delhi in 2010 under the banner of “Azadi — The Only Way”.

A large number of public intellectuals have been languishing in prisons over several years without trial under the draconian law.

Section 13 of the UAPA deals with advocating, abetting or inciting any unlawful activity and is punishable with imprisonment for up to seven years.

The FIR against Ms Roy and Dr Hussain was registered in Oct 2010, on the basis of a complaint by Sushil Pandit, following orders by the Court of the Metropolitan Magistrate, New Delhi. The other two accused in the case — Sayed Ali Shah Geelani, an anti-India Kashmiri leader, and Syed Abdul Rahman Geelani, a Delhi University lecturer — have both died over the course of the proceedings.

Last October, the L-G had granted sanction to prosecute the accused under Section 196 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for allegedly committing offences punishable under different Sections of the IPC, including 124-A (provisions for sedition), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 153-B (imputation, assertions, prejudicial to national integration), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), and 505 (statements abetting public mischief).

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2024

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