Arundhati Roy’s Speech on Kashmir Sparks Sedition Charges

New Delhi: Renowned Indian author Arundhati Roy, famous for her Booker Prize-winning novel ‘God of Small Things,’ may face a prison sentence of up to seven years. This follows the directive from Vinai Kumar Saxena, the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, instructing the Delhi Police to prosecute Roy and another individual in connection with a 2010 event that allegedly advocated for India’s territorial division.

The case revolves around speeches delivered by Arundhati Roy and Sheikh Showkat Hussain, a former professor at Kashmir University, during a conference organized by the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners under the banner “Azadi – The Only Way” (Freedom, the only way) on October 21, 2010. These speeches are said to have promoted a call for India’s territorial break-up.

The charges brought against them include violations of Sections 153A, 153B, and 505 of the Indian Penal Code. Section 153A relates to promoting enmity between different groups based on various factors and engaging in acts that disrupt communal harmony. Section 153B concerns imputations and assertions prejudicial to national integration, while Section 505 deals with intentional insults aimed at provoking a breach of peace.

Additionally, there is a pending decision on charges filed under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, which pertains to sedition. The police had also sought prosecution under Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), which deals with advocating, abetting, or inciting unlawful activities and carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.

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