Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena has allowed a case against Booker Prize-winning Indian writer Arundhati Roy and Kashmir University professor Sheikh Shaukat Hussain for demanding secession of Kashmir from India. Arundhati Roy could face a maximum sentence of seven years in this case.
According to a report by Pakistani media Dawn, the case was allowed to proceed based on the complaint filed against them in 2010. In the same year, they were accused of giving provocative speeches on the Kashmir issue in a public meeting in Delhi.
In 2010, Sushil Pandit and an organization of Kashmiri Pandits called Roots in Kashmir filed a complaint against Arundhati Roy and Sheikh Shaukat Hussain. A case has been filed against them under sections 153A, 153B and 505 of the Indian Penal Code. Under section 196 of the Criminal Procedure Code, such prosecutions require state approval.
Aiding, encouraging or abetting illegal activities under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in Indian law is punishable with imprisonment of up to seven years.
According to the complaint, a conference called ‘Azadi: The Only Way’ organized by the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners on October 21, 2010 demanded the secession of Kashmir from India. There, the speeches of Arundhati Roy and Sheikh Shaukat Hossain and others were provocative.
Two other accused in this case are Delhi University professor Syed Abdul Rahman Geelani and Kashmir separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Earlier, two were acquitted by the Supreme Court in the Parliament attack case. But they died before this case was settled.
Delhi Police filed charges against Arundhati Roy and Sheikh Shaukat Hussain under Sections 153A, 153B, 504, 505 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 13 of the UAPA. Under the Indian Penal Code three sections are allowed to proceed.
Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code deals with promoting hatred and acts prejudicial to harmony between different groups based on religion, caste, place of birth, residence, language etc.
Section 153B deals with allegations prejudicial to national unity. Apart from this, Section 505 deals with willful activities intended to disturb the peace.