J&K students to face sedition charges for celebrating Pakistan's win
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said those who celebrated Pakistan's victory over India in a T20 World Cup match will be charged with sedition. Three engineering students from Jammu and Kashmir have been arrested in Agra district as part of the crackdown. Several others face similar action in different areas of the state. Pakistan had defeated India on Sunday.
Why does it matter?
- People booked under the sedition law (Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code) may be looking at years in jail along with fines.
- Securing bail is also considered difficult in such cases.
- Notably, Opposition leaders have long called for the scrapping of the law.
- Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of India had also raised concerns about the "colonial" law's alleged misuse.
3 Kashmiri students booked in Agra
On Wednesday, three Kashmiri students were arrested in Agra. They have been identified as Arsheed Yousuf, Inayat Altaf Sheikh, and Showkat Ahmed Ganai, all studying at the Raja Balwant Singh College in that city. They are accused of sharing pro-Pakistan WhatsApp messages after Sunday's match. They had already been suspended from the college on Monday.
Students to be presented before magistrate
The accused students were taken to the Jagdishpura Police station in Lohamandi and will be presented before a magistrate. A First Information Report (FIR) has been registered under Sections 153A and 505(1)(b) of the IPC and Section 66F of the Information Technology Act. Earlier, members of a right-wing outfit had protested at the college and filed a complaint against the Kashmiri students.
Similar cases in J&K, Rajasthan
The UP Police have reportedly booked a total of seven people in five districts for allegedly celebrating Pakistan's win. Meanwhile, in J&K, several people have been either booked or detained after videos of celebrations went viral on social media. In Rajasthan, a private school teacher was sacked and is facing a police case for sharing a WhatsApp status in favor of the Pakistan team.
How did political leaders react?
There are contrasting reactions to the police action. Leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party have demanded strict action against the accused. On the other hand, former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti criticized the crackdown. "Situation in J&K after two years of suppression should've been an eye-opener for GOI & lead to course correction. BJP's pseudo patriotism disregards the idea of India," she tweeted.