India to Prosecute Author and Activist Roy for 2010 Speech

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Award-winning Indian author Arundhati Roy is facing prosecution after giving a speech 13 years ago, disputing the idea that Kashmir is an integral part of India.

The initial complaint was filed by a Kashmir activist following Roy’s speech in 2010, in which she and three others spoke at a conference and criticized India’s policy toward Kashmir.

Under Indian law, crimes of hate speech, sedition, and promoting enmity need approval from Indian officials to be prosecuted. That approval was given Wednesday, according to local media — more than a decade after the initial report was filed.

Delhi police now have permission to prosecute Roy and Central University of Kashmir professor Sheikh Showkat Hussain, under crimes of promoting enmity and making assertions prejudicial to national integration and causing public mischief, a move approved by federally-appointed lieutenant-governor, Vinai Kumar Saxena.

The other speakers named in the 2010 complaint, one a professor and the other a Kashmiri separatist leader, have since died.

Reasoning for why Saxena approved prosecution 13 years after the complaint was filed was not given in the report.

Roy, 61, a political activist as well as the 1997 Booker prize winner for fiction, has not provided a reaction to the recent developments.

The decision has faced disapproval from those opposing the current administration led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who came to power in 2014, and has since drawn criticism for its record on free speech.

Prosecuting the 2010 complaint has furthered some concerns over the current government’s free speech stances, despite the complaint being registered before Modi’s administration came to power.

“It is obvious that the LG [and his masters] have no place in their regime for tolerance or forbearance; or for that matter the essentials of democracy,” P. Chidambaram, a senior leader of the main opposition Congress party who was India’s home (interior) minister in 2010, posted on X. LG refers to Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena.

Source : VOA News