New Delhi: As the authorities contemplate
filing a criminal case against them, a senior Union minister
on Tuesday slammed Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani and
writer Arundhati Roy for stating that Kashmir is not an
integral part of India while the BJP demanded that the two
be arrested on sedition charges.
"Yes, there is freedom of speech...it can`t violate
the patriotic sentiments of the people," Law Minister Veerappa
Moily said at a seminar here while terming their remarks as
On BJP`s allegations that government remained silent
on the developments, he said, "Politics cannot be mixed with
statements which border sedition."
Asked whether his ministry had received a request from
the Home Ministry seeking its legal opinion on whether the two
can be booked for sedition, the Law Minister said, "I was away
for three days...I have not seen the file so far".
Roy, 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
At a convention in the capital on `Azadi--The Only
Way`, Geelani shared the stage with Roy and pro-Maoist
leader Vara Vara Rao among others. Geelani, who harped on
independence for Kashmir, was heckled by a section of the
audience with one of them throwing a shoe.
Stepping up its offensive, BJP demanded the arrests of
Geelani and Roy on charges of sedition, saying anyone who
speaks against the country should be hanged.
Picking on the Government, BJP general secretary
Ananth Kumar said it was in a "dilemma" on whether or not to
take action against Geelani and Roy.
"We condemn this approach and demand the immediate
arrest of the two. Anyone speaking against India should be
hanged," Kumar said.
"No power in the world can disintegrate Kashmir from
India. The UPA is silent and is taking no action on the people
who made anti-India comments and that too in New Delhi," he
Demanding action against Geelani and Roy, BJP
spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said, "The language used
certainly threatens the constitutional integrity of the
country and the answer given at that time by the Home Minister
was that there was a recording available and he would want to
see it and that he would take action, if necessary,"
"We are waiting to see what action the Home Minister
is going to take," she said.
Government has sought legal opinion for taking action
against the duo under sedition and other charges.
Hitting out at Geelani and Roy, Union minister and
former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said
there was "too much of freedom" that was being used by some to
destroy the country.
"There is too much of freedom in India that some
Indians themselves are taking advantage of this and destroying
the country. There are no limits of the way they are using
this freedom," he said on being asked about the speeches made
by Roy and Geelani.
Asked if people such as Roy were exploiting the
freedom of speech, Abdullah said, "Country has given the
freedom, it is up to them how they use this freedom. It is for
them to realise what is right and what is wrong. What to say
and what not to say is for a person to decide."
On her part, Roy declined to comment on the moves to