SKM condemns prosecution sanction of Arundhati Roy, Showkat Hussain under UAPA

The Delhi LG, earlier last week, gave his sanction to prosecute Roy and Hussain for allegedly making provocative speeches at an event in 2010.
Last Updated : 20 June 2024, 19:33 IST

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New Delhi: The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) on Thursday condemned Delhi LG V K Saxena's approval to prosecute author Arundhati Roy and former Central University of Kashmir professor Sheikh Showkat Hussain under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. In a statement issued here, the SKM, an umbrella body of farmer unions, also demanded that the "draconian" UAPA should be scrapped.

The Delhi LG, earlier last week, gave his sanction to prosecute Roy and Hussain for allegedly making provocative speeches at an event in 2010.

The SKM said it was "abhorrent" that the BJP-led NDA government with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah at the helm "have already begun the illegal prosecution of dissenting voices in the country".

This time, the "hammer of authoritarianism has fallen" on Roy and Hussain, it added.

The SKM pointed out that the "draconian UAPA" has been slapped on both individuals after a gap of 14 years, on an FIR filed in 2010.

"While Roy is being charged of making a 'separatist speech' regarding Kashmir, no such statement is available for Hussain. Further, in the last 14 years, there has been no incident of violence that can be traced to the alleged speech," the statement said. Backing Roy, the SKM said, "A careful examination of the speech given by Roy shows that she had shown the lack of democracy existing in different parts of India, including Kashmir, Northeast and Central India. In her talk, she urged people to be on the side of justice, justice for even the weakest sections of society." "Thus, it was more of a call for establishing a true democracy where people need not live under threat," it said.

"The slapping of UAPA reflects that the present government, although cut down to size in recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, nonetheless wishes to continue with its older line of clamping down on any dissent and branding it as 'anti-national'," the organisation added.

The SKM claimed the National Investigation Agency has sent to jail 16 leading intellectuals and activists with "false charges" in the Bhima-Koregaon case.

It also also mentioned the arrests of Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, NewsClick Founder-Editor Prabir Purakayastha, and Professor G N Saibaba.

The SKM reminded the ruling BJP of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat's statement where he said the opposition is not adversary.

"What is interesting is that the parent organisation of the BJP, the RSS has publicly asked the ruling party to respect the country’s opposition," it pointed out. "Such high phrases are praiseworthy but only if they hold any real meaning. The truth remains that RSS holds no respect for either dissenters or the opposition at large. Their silence as the police moves to arrest Roy and Hussain is proof of this," the SKM said.

The body also demanded that the UAPA should be scrapped.

"The UAPA is single-handedly the most draconian law at the behest of this government to attack the Opposition. It is also patently unconstitutional and strikes at the very roots of Indian democracy. For these reasons, the law must be thrown into the dustbin of history," they said.

"The SKM demands that all political prisoners in jail under the UAPA be released immediately, and that the UAPA is itself scrapped. The SKM stands in complete solidarity with Arundhati Roy and Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain," the statement added.

Published 20 June 2024, 19:33 IST

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