Just wait! Today: Arundhati Roy. Tomorrow: You?

Just wait! Today: Arundhati Roy. Tomorrow: You?

A Comedy of Delays

Oh, the drama! Fourteen years have flown by, and suddenly, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena has an epiphany.

“Prosecute Arundhati Roy under UAPA,” he declares, undoubtedly while clutching a copy of the Indian Penal Code.

One can only wonder what took so long. Did someone misplace the file behind a stack of unsorted paperwork? Or perhaps the government was waiting for the stars to align just right before deciding to misuse their power?

The Timely Decision

Imagine the shock and awe when Saxena’s announcement made headlines. Arundhati Roy, celebrated author and intellectual, now faces prosecution for a speech she made in 2010.

Yes, you heard that right—2010!

The timing is impeccable, almost as if the government needed a distraction from more pressing issues, like, say, rising unemployment or economic disparity. Clearly, nothing screams “justice” like dredging up a 14-year-old speech to incite legal action.

The UAPA: A Tool for Tyrants

Let’s not forget the cherry on top: the charges are under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). A law so stringent, it practically guarantees pre-trial detention for years.

Bail? Forget about it.

This legislation, designed for tackling terrorism, is now being brandished against an author and a former professor for exercising their right to free speech. Who’s next? The kid who doodles “Free Kashmir” in his notebook?

The Audacity of Free Speech

What did Roy actually say to deserve this? “Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. However aggressively and however often you want to ask me that…” Oh, the horror!

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A controversial opinion from a writer known for controversial opinions. Should we all gasp in unison? If stating a historical and political viewpoint is now grounds for imprisonment, perhaps we should start building more prisons to house every individual with a divergent thought.

Civil Society: Silenced but Not Silent

Civil society is understandably perturbed. “Feels like this government is again trying to send civil society a message,” an activist remarked. The message is clear: think twice before speaking your mind, or you might find yourself in legal limbo. It’s a masterclass in intimidation, ensuring that dissent is quashed under the guise of national security.

International Outrage: The World Watches

P.E.N International has condemned the prosecution, calling it an effort to criminalise peaceful dissent.

When an 85-year-old Jesuit priest like Stan Swamy, who died in custody, becomes a symbol of the UAPA’s brutality, one must question the moral compass of those wielding this law.

Several legal luminaries and well informed citizens have pointed out that this law has ruined lives, primarily targeting Muslims, Dalits, and tribal youth. Yet, the government persists, undeterred by the human cost.

The Long Arm of Misuse

Even Sushil Pandit, the complainant, appears baffled by the delay. He demands an inquiry into why it took 14 years to act. It’s almost comical—if it weren’t so tragic. The Crime Branch has now prepared a chargesheet “exceeding a thousand pages.” Ah, the bureaucracy at its finest, where quantity over quality reigns supreme. Videos and forensic evidence from a 2010 speech—how riveting.

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A Government Obsessed with Silencing

Many national and international writers and activists accuse Prime Minister Narendra Modi of using UAPA to stifle free speech. Given the timing and the absurdity of the charges, it’s hard to disagree. In a country that prides itself on being the world’s largest democracy, the freedom to speak one’s mind should be sacrosanct. Yet, here we are, witnessing a grotesque parody of justice.

Pity the Nation

Arundhati Roy, in her defence, wrote, “Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds.”


Pity the nation where a government’s misuse of power becomes so blatant that it no longer shocks but merely amuses with its predictability.

As citizens, we must not let this farce go unchallenged. Stand up for Roy, stand up for freedom of speech, and most importantly, stand up against the misuse of power.

If we remain silent now, who will speak for us when our turn comes?

2 Responses to "Just wait! Today: Arundhati Roy. Tomorrow: You?"

  1. Robert   June 27, 2024 at 10:31 pm

    It’s shocking that you persecute a famous woman who speaks her mind!

  2. Dorothy   June 25, 2024 at 8:03 pm

    This is abuse of power…curtailing our himan rights…We pray that the opposition will build pressure to repel such laws