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Arundhati Roy can face prosecution: HC

Sheikh Imran Bashir

Srinagar: Patiala High court on Saturday ruled Saturday that award-winning author Arundhati Roy could face prosecution for allegedly speaking out on the disputed region of Kashmir, according to a report.

A court in Delhi allowed the registration of a case against Roy and hardline Kashmiri separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the Press Trust of India reported, without giving further details.

Reports reveled that metropolitan magistrate Navita Kumari Bagha this afternoon directed police to file charges against the booked prize winner author, Arundhati Roy, veteran pro-freedom leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Delhi University professor S A R Geelani and four others for the alleged anti-India speech in New Delhi during a seminar titled ‘Azadi-The Only Way’ that was held last month.
The Court has asked the police to file report by January 6.

Roy, winner of the prestigious Booker award for her novel “The God of Small Things” in 1997, is a fierce critic of Indian policy in Kashmir, where protests against New Delhi have claimed some 111 lives since June.

The writer and social activist shared a stage with Geelani in October and backed the idea of “Azadi” or freedom for Kashmir, leading New Delhi police to look into charging her with sedition.

Originally, the Indian government was reported to be opposed to prosecuting her.
There was no immediate reaction from the writer.

In October, she said in a statement: “What I say (about Kashmir) comes from love and pride.”
“I said what millions of people here (in Kashmir) say every day. I said what I as well as other commentators have written and said for years,” she said.

The main opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has called Roy’s comments “seditious” and accused the Congress-led government of “looking the other way” by not taking any legal action against her.
Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan each hold part of Kashmir but claim it in full. India insists that Kashmir is an “integral part” of the country.

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