Left parties protest against order to prosecute Arundhati Roy under UAPA

CPI-ML said that the protest was to demand the release of political prisoners and it will continue to fight against all draconian laws.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jun 20, 2024 | 7:48 PM Updated Jun 20, 2024 | 7:48 PM

Left parties protest against prosection of Arundhati Roy under UAPA

Left groups on Thursday, 20 June staged a protest against the order to prosecute author Arundhati Roy and former Central University of Kashmir professor Sheikh Showkat Hussain under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Delhi Lt Governor VK Saxena, earlier last week, gave his sanction to prosecute Roy and Hussain for allegedly making provocative speeches at an event in 2010. Holding banners and posters demanding removal of the UAPA charge against the duo, scores of students and members of CPI-ML gathered in Delhi at Jantar Mantar to register their protest.

All India Students Association (AISA) also participated in the protest, which observed a Prativad Divas or protest day, according to PTI.

CPI-ML demands release of political prisoners

Additionally, CPI-ML said that they conducted a nationwide protest on 20 June with the demand that “all political prisoners” are released. Taking to X to post about it, the party said, “Protests were held in all states and major centres in the country against the imposition of UAPA against Arundhati Roy and Dr. Sheikh Shawkat Hussein in a fourteen year old incident after the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi passed an order for the same.”

Calling the LG’s sanction to prosecute the duo an instance of “vindictive quelling of any voice of democracy and dissent,” the party took to social media and said that such actions has become an essential feature of the Indian brand of fascism.

The post further alleged that the VK Saxena was also behing the false defamation case filed against activist Medha Parkar. After being convicted in the case, the activist now awaits sentencing on punishment.

CPI-ML also said that it will continue to fight for the repeal of all draconian laws.

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The case background

The FIR against Arundhati Roy and former Central University of Kashmir professor Sheikh Showkat Hussain was registered based on a complaint by Sushil Pandit, a social activist from Kashmir, on 28 October, 2010.

The complaint was filed under Section 156(3) of CrPC before the Metropolitan Magistrate Court, New Delhi, who disposed the complaint on 27 November, 2010 with the directions to register an FIR. Accordingly, an FIR was registered and an investigation was carried out, they said.

Roy and Hussain had allegedly made provocative speeches at a conference organised under the banner of ‘Azadi – The Only Way’ on 21 October, 2010 at LTG Auditorium, Copernicus Marg. “The issues discussed and spoken about at the conference propagated the separation of Kashmir from India,” a Raj Niwas official had said earlier.

Those who delivered speeches at the conference included Syed Ali Shah Geelani, SAR Geelani (anchor of the Conference and prime accused in the Parliament attack case), Arundhati Roy, Dr. Sheikh Showkat Hussain and Varavara Rao.

Last October, the LG had granted sanction to prosecute the duo under section 196 of CrPC for commission of offences punishable under different sections of the Indian Penal Code: 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).

Related: Nod to prosecute Arundhati Roy under UAPA ‘misuse of power’: Sharad Pawar

(Edited by Neena with PTI inputs)

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