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Moily Slams Arundhati, Geelani; BJP Demands Their Arrest

New Delhi , Oct 26: As the authorities contemplate filing a criminal case against them, a senior Union minister today slammed Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani and writer Arundhati Roy for stating that Kashmir
PTI October 26, 2010 16:51 IST
PTI

New Delhi , Oct 26: As the authorities contemplate filing a criminal case against them, a senior Union minister today 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 "most unfortunate".

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 this."

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.

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 said.

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 againstthe 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." PTI