New Delhi: Terming the remarks made by Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani and writer Arundhati Roy at a seminar here as “most unfortunate”, Law Minister M Veerappa Moily Tuesday said freedom of speech cannot violate patriotic sentiments of the people.
“Yes, there is freedom of speech…it can’t violate the patriotic sentiments of the people,” he said here.
While terming their remarks as “most unfortunate”, the Law Minister said in India there are people who support one view or the other since the time of Ramayana.
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”.
The remarks made by Geelani and Roy at the seminar had evoked a strong reaction from the BJP with its leader Arun Jaitley accusing the government of “looking the other way” when a number of separatist groups met at a conference to instigate sedition.
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 the convention on ‘Azadi–The Only Way’, Geelani shared the stage with writer Arundhati Roy and pro-Maoist leader Vara Vara Rao among others. Geelani was heckled by the audience with one of them throwing a shoe.