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Students accused of terror for ‘celebrating’ World Cup loss

Wednesday, November 29th, 2023 14:41 | By
An Indian security officer stands guard on the banks of Dal Lake, one of Kashmir's main tourist attractions, in Srinagar, on July 6, 2023. PHOTO/Reuters
An Indian security officer stands guard on the banks of Dal Lake, one of Kashmir's main tourist attractions, in Srinagar, on July 6, 2023. PHOTO/Reuters

Authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir have arrested seven students under a stringent terror law for allegedly celebrating India’s defeat in the cricket World Cup finals earlier this month, drawing severe criticism, Al Jazeera reports.

The students of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) have been booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), a law deemed draconian by several rights groups.

The law, which makes securing bail almost impossible, has largely been used by India’s Hindu nationalist government against political dissenters and Muslim activists.

A senior police officer in Indian-administered Kashmir told Al Jazeera there was a face-off between the accused and some non-local students on November 19 as they watched a TV broadcast of India playing against Australia at the Narendra Modi Stadium in the western state of Gujarat.

Australia beat India by six wickets to win a record-extending sixth men’s ICC Cricket World Cup, dashing India’s hopes of a third win after 1983 and 2011.

“A non-local student submitted a written complaint naming the seven Kashmiri students for abusing and threatening him and raising pro-Pakistan slogans. On the basis of the complaint, the case has been registered under the UAPA,” he said.

The non-local students at SKUAST’s Shuhama campus in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district allege the seven Kashmiri students raised anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans after India lost the game.

“After finishing the match they [students] started abusing me and targeting me for being a supporter of our country,” read the complaint by the 20-year-old student, who has not been identified by the police.

The seven students have been charged with Section 13 of UAPA which deals with advocating, abetting, or inciting the commission of any unlawful activity, and Sections 505 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code which deals with intent to incite offence against any other class or community and criminal intimidation.

As the move to invoke terror charges in a case related to sport was criticised, police on Tuesday issued a statement, defending their action.

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