Three Kashmiri students arrested in Agra for allegedly raising pro-Pakistan slogans were on Thursday booked for sedition, Uttar Pradesh Police officials said. The three students, two of them aged 20 and one 21, were also remanded in 14-day judicial custody by an Agra court, the officials said.
While coming out of the court, they were allegedly heckled and chased by some people. Meanwhile, a body of Jammu and Kashmir students urged Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath for the withdrawal of the sedition charge against them.
Adityanath earlier in the day had said the sedition law will be invoked against those celebrating Pakistan’s victory against India in the recent T20 World Cup match.
“The three students were arrested on Wednesday after an FIR was lodged against them at the Jagdishpura police station. They were accused of raising pro-Pakistan slogans in the wake of an India-Pakistan T20 cricket match and posting celebratory messages on social media after Pakistan’s victory,” a police official said.
On Thursday, they were produced in a magistrate’s court in Agra, which remanded them in 14-day judicial custody, the official said. “The FIR was initially registered under IPC Sections 153A (promoting enmity between groups) and 505 (creating or publishing content to promote enmity). Section 124A (sedition) of the IPC was included on Friday in the case,” the police official said.
The trio studies in a private college affiliated to Agra University. When the students were coming out of the court, some right wing activists raised slogans against Pakistan and chased them. Some lawyers also heckled the students while they were being taken from the court to a police vehicle, according to purported videos that emerged on social media. However, the Agra police said they escorted the students to safety.
“The students were taken to the court in a discreet manner and were similarly taken out from there considering the sensitivity of the matter. However, some people heckled the trio on the court premises but none was hurt. They were all safe,” the police official told
Nasir Khuehami, national spokesperson of the Jammu and Kashmir Students’ Association, urged the Uttar Pradesh chief minister to drop sedition charges against the students, seeking “mercy on humanitarian grounds”. They have urged the chief minister to intervene for the withdrawal of the sedition case and the FIR against the students, he said in a statement.
“The college authorities must revoke the suspension of the students, whom we urged to focus on their studies,” he said. Mansoor Wani, a research fellow at Agra University and mentor of the accused students, said they were young and needed counselling instead of such heckling.
“We apologise on their behalf if they were involved in such an unfortunate incident. But these are young men from financially weak backgrounds. They need guidance. We will counsel them. They should not be booked under such harsh laws. It will ruin their careers,” Wani added.