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Saturday March 02, 2024

Indian court grants bail to arrested Kashmiri students

By —sabah
December 04, 2023

SRINAGAR: An Indian court has granted bail to seven Kashmiri students who were arrested under anti-terror laws for allegedly celebrating Australia’s victory over India in the men’s Cricket World Cup final last month, a lawyer said on Sunday.

The students from an agriculture university were detained in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) after one student filed a complaint accusing them of using anti-India slogans and cheering for Pakistan along with Australia after the match.

Claimed in full but ruled in part by India and Pakistan Muslim-majority Kashmir has seen a bloody insurrection against New Delhi for decades. Muslims in the region have in the past cheered for the competing side in India cricket matches as a way of protesting Indian rule.

Indian police personnel can be seen standing in this image. — AFP/File
Indian police personnel can be seen standing in this image. — AFP/File

Local political leaders opposed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi government’s rule over IIOJK had said the arrests were a way to intimidate locals using the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The act deals with inciting any unlawful activity and is punishable with seven years imprisonment.

Police dropped the UAPA charges and an Indian court granted bail to the students on Saturday according to the lawyer of students Shafiq Bhat.

In granting bail the local court imposed a condition that the students should be available when needed for the investigation and shall not indulge in any anti-national activity, the order stated. The students still face allegations under other Indian laws that related to making statements inducing public mischief.

Australia had entered the World Cup match as clear underdogs against an all-conquering India side who had won 10 matches in a row to storm into the final. But India was defeated in the final match on Nov. 19.

India blames Pakistan for supporting the Muslim insurgents. Pakistan denies this and accuses India of violating the rights of IIOJK’s Muslim people, a charge India rejects.