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Thursday February 22, 2024

Kashmiri students charged with anti-terror law for celebrating India’s World Cup defeat

"Seven students were arrested for raising pro-Pakistan slogans in IIOJK," say police

By Web Desk
November 28, 2023
Members of the youth wing of IIOJK main opposition National Conference party shout anti-government slogans during a protest against police violence involving students in central Srinagar on April 18, 2017. — AFP
Members of the youth wing of IIOJK main opposition National Conference party shout anti-government slogans during a protest against police violence involving students in central Srinagar on April 18, 2017. — AFP

As many as seven Kashmiri students were arrested by Indian police under anti-terrorism law for celebrating Australia’s win in the World Cup and chanting pro-Pakistan slogans, Indian media reported on Tuesday.

The seven students of the Sher-e-Kashmir Agriculture University were charged with the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), as well as other sections of the penal code in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

The Indian police said Tuesday that the students were arrested following "anti-India sloganeering and intimidation of others who did not agree with them" after the match.

Hosts India were favourites to capture the one-day cricket crown in the November 19 final but they lost to Australia in a six-wicket defeat.

Police said the Kashmiri students at the agriculture university were arrested last week after a complaint filed by another student, who came from outside the territory.

"They started abusing me and targeting me for being supporter of my country and also threatened me to shut up otherwise I would be shooted (sic)," the police case file seen by AFP notes, quoting the complainant.

Many people in IIOJK support any cricket team playing against India — including arch-rival Pakistan — and fireworks were set off in the main city of Srinagar to celebrate Australia's victory.

The arrests were criticised by Mehbooba Mufti, Kashmir's former chief minister.

"Why is there so much fear, restlessness and paranoia only because some students celebrated Australia's victory?" Mufti told reporters on Tuesday.

"You... want to destroy their lives for cheering the team of their choice and for expressing happiness when that team plays well. I condemn it," she said.

India has used the vaguely worded UAPA legislation against thousands of IIOJK residents, journalists, and dissidents, according to activists.

It allows people to be held for six months — often rolled over — without being charged, and bail is virtually impossible.

In 2021, police detained six residents and opened an investigation under UAPA against several hundred students in the territory who celebrated when Pakistan defeated India in a high-octane T20 World Cup cricket match in Dubai.