UN Human Rights office urges review of India's UAPA

They urged the authorities to drop cases against Arundhati Roy and Sheikh Showkat Hussain over comments on India's administered Kashmir.
Protests to oppose UAPA on Arundhati Roy and Sheikh Showkat Hussian.
Protests to oppose UAPA on Arundhati Roy and Sheikh Showkat Hussian.Photo | Express

NEW DELHI: The UN Human Rights office has expressed concern about the use of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) to silence critics in India.

"We are concerned about the use of UAPA anti-terror law to silence critics. We repeat our call for a review of the law and the release of human rights defenders detained under it. We urge authorities to drop cases against Arundhati Roy and Sheikh Showkat Hussain over comments on India's administered Kashmir," said the UN Human Rights Office, led by High Commissioner Volker Turk.

Earlier this month, Delhi LG Vinai Kumar Saxena granted sanction to prosecute Roy and Hussain under the UAPA, an anti-terror law that makes it difficult for accused persons to secure bail.

"India is a country that follows its law, and in the cases of these two individuals too, the law will take its own course," said an official source.

Protests to oppose UAPA on Arundhati Roy and Sheikh Showkat Hussian.
Delhi LG grants prosecution sanction against Arundhati Roy under UAPA: Officials

On Friday, India criticised a US report on International Religious Freedom, highlighting that it referred to issues within India’s constitutional provisions and duly enacted laws.

"On its own path, the US has even more stringent laws and regulations and certainly does not prescribe for itself. Human rights and respect for diversity have been and will remain a subject of discussion between India and the US. India has continuously taken up the issue of hate crimes and targeting of minorities in the US," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said.

Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy and former Kashmir University Professor Sheikh Showkat Hussain allegedly made provocative speeches at a conference organized under the banner "Azadi- the only way" on October 21, 2010, in New Delhi. The two were named in an FIR registered on October 28, 2010.

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