Govt Seeks Legal Opinion On ‘Azadi’ Seminar22 October 2010
The Economic Times
New Delhi: A day after Kashmiri separatists and ‘liberals’ concocted horror stories against the Indian state and advocated secession of J&K at a seminar on ‘Azadi’, BJP has asked the government to slap sedition charges against organisers of the event. At the seminar attended by Hurriyat hard-liner Syed Ali Shah Geelani, writer-activist Arundhati Roy energetically backed the idea of Kashmir seceding from India. “India needs Azadi from Kashmir and Kashmir from India. It is a good debate that has started. We must deepen this conversation and am happy that young people are getting involved for this cause which is their future. Indian government is a hollow super power and I disassociate with it,” Ms Roy had said in the company of separatists from the Valley. While BJP leader Arun Jaitley said the government can no longer afford to “look the other way” when people are instigating sedition. Mr Chidambaram stepped in to reject the charge. “I strongly reject Arun Jaitley’s charge that the Centre was doing nothing when a seminar was held on Thursday in which Geelani and others participated,” Mr Chidambaram said in a statement. He said authorities have videographed the entire proceedings of the seminar and have submitted them to legal advisers for their opinion on whether there has been a violation of laws. “If it is established prima facie that the laws have been violated, Delhi Police will take action in accordance with the law,” he said. Mr Jaitley and Mr Venkaiah Naidu, who addressed the media said that the government cannot be a mute spectator to the event attended by ‘separatists and Naxalites’ in the heart of the Capital. “It is dismaying to note that the central government did not take any preventive measures and has not taken any action to punish the guilty. The central government should not forget that there are two responsibilities and obligations of the state - to prevent such events and to punish offenders. On the other hand, the government exercised the option of looking the other way which is not available to it,” Mr Jaitley alleged. Describing it as shocking, the party said Thursday’s seminar came under the purview of the penal law and people associated with it including Syed Ali Shah Geelani should be prosecuted. Accusing the Centre of abdicating its duty to protect the unity and integrity of the country by allowing a seminar in which anti-India voices were raised, Mr Jaitley said if anybody speaks against the sovereignty of India , such exercise came under penal law - offences against state. “The whole country was shocked when a large number of separatists groups met in Delhi under the nose of the government and had a conference and meeting to instigate sedition in India. No democracy permits a right to sedition as right to free speech to any group. The right to free speech enshrined in the Constitution cannot be used against the country,” Mr Jaitley said. He said some “misconceived representatives of civil society” have advocated that these separatists were only advocating and exercising their free right to speech. “This is unacceptable,” he said.