Kashmir: NC, PDP strongly disapprove UAPA sanction against Arundhati Roy, ex-Kashmir Professor

IOK - Indian Occupied Kashmir Jammu & Kashmir

Srinagar, June 15: The National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have voiced their strong disapproval of the prosecution sanction against author Arundhati Roy and former Central University of Kashmir professor Sheikh Showkat Hussain under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for allegedly making provocative speeches at an event in Delhi in 2010.

The FIR against Roy and Hussain was registered following the orders of the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate, New Delhi. The National Conference highlighted the importance of upholding the fundamental right to free speech as guaranteed by Article 19 of the Constitution. “The NC expresses its strong disapproval of the prosecution of author Arundhati Roy and Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain under the UAPA. The use of anti-terror laws to suppress dissent and criminalize speech is deeply concerning,” the party said in a post on X.

The NC also said the significant delay in granting permission for prosecution, pointing out that it has been 14 years since the alleged speech took place. “In the intervening years, the speech has been all but forgotten and didn’t vitiate the atmosphere in J&K,” the NC said.

The party argued that this prosecution serves no purpose other than to demonstrate that the “hardline stance of the BJP/Union Government won’t change despite the electoral setback they recently faced.”

Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena recently accorded sanction to prosecute Roy and Hussain under the UAPA for their alleged provocative speeches at a conference titled ‘Azadi – The Only Way’ on October 21, 2010, at LTG Auditorium in New Delhi.

PDP chief and former Chief Minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti, described the sanction as “shocking.” “Shocking that Arundhati Roy, world-renowned author and a brave woman who has emerged as a powerful voice against fascism, has been booked under the draconian UAPA,” she said on X.

Mehbooba Mufti criticised the Centre for what she described as a “rampage violating fundamental rights with impunity,” and added that prosecuting a former law professor from Kashmir is an act of frustration.

Iltija Mufti, Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter and media adviser, expressed concern over the prosecution of Roy and Hussain. “Equally worrying that it also includes Dr. Sheikh Showkat, a former Professor of Law from Kashmir. What is becoming of India? Might as well turn this country into an open-air prison,” she posted on X. The FIR was registered on October 28, 2010, following a complaint by Sushil Pandit, a social activist from Kashmir.__GK News