New Delhi: Congress today refused to
attach much importance to the views of author Arundhati Roy on
Kashmir, saying it was "erroneous" to do so as she was not in
the political mainstream but maintained that police would take
action if she had violated the law.
"I do not understand why exaggerated importance is
given to her who is not in the political mainstream. It is
erroneous and uncalled for. Is she an MP? Is she a political
leader. She is an author," party spokesman Manish Tewari told
He, however, said that a very robust government
process is there in the country and if at all there have been
violations of law, Delhi Police can register a case and take
action as per law.
Tewari said Article 19 of the Constitution is clear on
freedom of speech but one could not promote sedition or
secession as per the Article.
At the convention on `Azadi--The Only Way` here last
week, hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani had
shared the stage with writer Arundhati Roy and pro-Maoist
leader Vara Vara Rao among others.
The Booker Prize winning author had said, "Kashmir has
never been an integral part of India. It is a historical fact.
Even the Indian government has accepted this."
BJP had taken strong exception to the remarks, saying
freedom of speech did not mean the right to demand secession.
It had accused the Centre of "looking the other way" and not
taking any legal action.
Tewari said if Geelani and Roy have said anything
which has violated the law, Delhi Police has the videotapes
and was looking into the issue.
Asked about the statement of BJP MP Ram Jethmalani
supporting the interlocutors for Kashmir, Tewari said he was
not sure how much importance his views carried in the party as
he had joined it recently.
"The problem with the BJP is that it does not have a
line on the interlocutors. When former Prime Minister Atal
Bihari Vajpayee had said that `insaniyat ke dayre mein baat
karenge`, he was not addressing it to the mountains and
He said the statement of Vajpayee was obviously aimed
at those who were not in the political mainstream.
"I want to ask the BJP its stand on the statement of
its former Prime Minister. Do they agree with it or not," the