• 19 June, 2024
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  • APDR

Press Statement :17.6.2024 : Immediate withdrawal of UAPA charges against Arundhati Roy and Shaukat Hussain.



Association For Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR)
18, Madan Baral Lane
Kolkata-700012

Press Statement

On 14 June 2024 Lt. Governor of Delhi has given permission to prosecute famous writer and activist Arundhati Roy and Prof. Shaukat Hussain, Human Rights activist of Kashmir under UAPA. In 2010, a FIR was lodged against them for ‘provocative’ speeches in a meeting on the Kashmir issue. After 14 years UAPA is being applied in the case.
What was in the speech which the state termed as ‘provocative’? In 2010, in a seminar captioned ‘ Azadi - the Only Way’ in Delhi, Arundhati stated that Kashmir was never an integral part of India. What Shaukat said is not clear. The then UPA governmen led by Congress could not digest the reality expressed by Arundhati and fellow speakers. Case was framed in 2010 itself. This, once again raises the question whether Article 19 of Constitution of India which enshrined Freedom of Expression as a Fundamental Right, is a mere showpiece or not. Otherwise why a personal opinion expressed in a seminar will lead to a legal action? BJP has marked this independent expression as an act of terror!

The question obviously is being raised that what lead to sudden framing of charges under UAPA after 14 years on an internationally acclaimed writer and activist like Arundhati Roy. Charge under Section 13 of UAPA, if proved guilty, the punishment may lead to 7 years of imprisonment and penalty.
The fact remains that framing charges under UAPA against Arundhati and her ilk, is a planned action of the BJP government. Just after returning to power for the third term, the BJP and RSS regime has sent a message to dissenting intellectuals, artists and literati that ‘Beware ! No one, not even famous and respected persona like Arundhati will be spared, if they keep on protesting. The Modi government is scared that the civil society may speak out firmly against some of the continuing and impending actions of the government. These includes mass killing of citizens in Chhattisgarh to feed the hunger of corporate profit in capturing Abujhmar, widespread privatisation, the new Dondo Sanhita, the electoral bond, the NEET scam and other cases of corruption. We are anxious that on Kashmir some heinous plan is being chalked out. The government fears that individuals like Arundhati Roy and a large section of the civil society will speak out against these monstrous activities. Recently Ajit Doval is once again being appointed as National Security Advisor. Incidentally, Doval is the person who has advised state machinery to wage a 4th generation war against civil society. It is obvious that state will turn its machinery against Arundhati Roy who has consistently spoken against looting of ' jol, jamin and jongol' in the interest of the corporates, against eviction, against state sponsored atrocities, for implementation of Forest Rights act, PESA Act. This incident of imposing UAPA on Arundhati made it clear that in the third term of BJP RSS regime, the incidents of framing charges against intellectuals as in Bhima Koregaon will continue.

We have noticed with surprise that neither the INDIA leader Rahul Gandhi nor WB Chief Minister Mamata Bandopadhyay has come out against framing of Arundhati Roy and Shaukat Hussain under UAPA. This is a matter of grave concern.

APDR appeals to all democratic citizens of the State to come out and protest against framing of Arundhati Roy and others under UAPA.

We demand
• Immediate withdrawal of UAPA charges against Arundhati Roy and Shaukat Hussain.
• Scrapping of the main FIR lodged in 2010.
• Scrapping of all draconian Acts like UAPA, NIA and NSA
• Immediate stoppage of mass killing and eviction of citizens from "jol- jomin- jongol' in Chhattisgarh.
• Immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners like Umar Khalid and others


Ranjit Sur
General Secretary
APDR
17.6.2024
 


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