Terror charges against Kashmiri students for alleged pro-Pakistan slogans after India's WC losstext_fields
Seven Kashmiri students at the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Science and Technology are facing charges under anti-terror laws for allegedly shouting pro-Pakistan slogans in the fallout of India's defeat to Australia in the cricket World Cup finals.
The families of the accused students are now appealing to authorities to drop the charges, emphasizing their sons' lack of involvement in any criminal activities in the past.
The Wire has quoted Syed Mohammad Qasim Bukhari, the father of one of the students, expressing disbelief at his son's alleged participation in anti-national activities, stating, "I have toiled hard for his education. What has happened is unfortunate, but I refuse to believe that he was involved in any anti-national activity."
The celebrations, which allegedly took place in one of the university's undergraduate hostels, led to a police complaint filed by a student from Punjab, Sachin Bains. Bains claimed to have been abused and threatened by Kashmiri students for supporting the Indian cricket team.
The Ganderbal police station filed a First Information Report (FIR) under various sections, including the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 (UAPA).
The accused students have been arrested and are currently on police remand until November 30, according to officials. The families of the students, including one who requested anonymity, are pleading with authorities to reconsider the charges.
The unnamed family member expressed concern about the potential impact on the students' careers, asserting that even if they had committed a mistake, charging them with terrorism would be unjust. The family member pleaded with the authorities to provide them with a second chance.
Three of the accused students, according to university officials, are orphans, and one, Mohsin Farooq, recently returned from Thailand after an impressive three-month research trip for academic achievements.
Advocate Shafeeq Bhat, representing one of the accused students, asserted that they are preparing a legal defence, emphasizing that the students are nationalists and have not been involved in any crimes.
The FIR alleges that the students shouted pro-Pakistan slogans, such as 'Jeeve Jeeve Pakistan,' creating an "atmosphere of fear" among non-local students at the university. Superintendent of Police Nikhil Borkar Ganderbal mentioned that the investigation is ongoing, and findings will be revealed in due course.
This incident is not the first time that authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have invoked the UAPA against individuals for celebrating cricket victories. In 2021, a case was filed over the celebration of Pakistan's victory against India in the T20 World Cup, leading to charges under the UAPA.