Drop Case Against Arundhati Roy, Showkat Hussain, Repeal UAPA: HRF, GASS

The Human Right Forum (AP & Telangana) and the Ganatantrik Adhikar Surakhya Sangathan (GASS, Odisha) condemn the granting of sanction to the police by the Delhi Lieutenant-Governor to prosecute Arundhati Roy, writer and Sheik Showkat Hussain, former professor at the Central University of Kashmir. We demand that the case against the two be withdrawn immediately.

The invoking of Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in a case dating back to 2010 against Arundhati and Showkat Hussain reeks of plain vendetta. Over the past decade, a central feature of the ruling dispensation at the Centre has been to suppress dissent and criminalise criticism. It is once again flexing its muscle seeking to resurrect a climate of fear.

Freedom of expression is encoded as a Constitutional right under Article 19 and the freedom to criticise is vital to hold those in power to account. The ideological progeny of MS Golwalkar who presently rule us imagine they can breach this precious right but as history has shown, such attempts will fail again and again.

To paraphrase Arundhati Roy from October, 2010: “In the papers some have accused me of giving ‘hate-speeches’, of wanting India to break up. On the contrary, what I say comes from love and pride. It comes from not wanting people to be killed, raped, imprisoned…Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds. Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice, while communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters, looters, rapists, and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free.”

The UAPA, which is a legal monstrosity that should have no place in a democracy, must be repealed.

VS Krishna
HRF AP&TS Coordination Committee member

Deba Ranjan
GASS Odisha general secretary

16 June 2024

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