UP police slaps sedition charge on Kashmiri students for allegedly cheering Pakistan cricket team

SVSU vice-chancellor Manzoor Ahmed said the suspension was a “precautionary measure”.

New Delhi | Updated: March 6, 2014 9:51 pm
Fans cheer during the India-Pakistan match, picture for representation purpose. (Reuters) Fans cheer during the India-Pakistan match, picture for representation purpose. (Reuters)

The Uttar Pradesh police on Thursday slapped sedition charges on a group of Kashmiri students of a private university in Meerut for reportedly cheering Pakistan’s victory against India during a cricket match on Sunday. The action sparked outrage in Kashmir, where both the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rallied behind the students.

While the Swami Vivekananda Subharti University (SVSU) in Meerut suspended 65 students for three days earlier this week, the university authorities on Wednesday evening lodged an FIR at the Jaani police station against “unidentified students of a particular group”.

Following the FIR, the police have registered a case against “unidentified students of a particular group” under Sections 124-A (sedition),153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc.) and 427 (damage to government property). The minimum punishment for a sedition offence is three years and the maximum is life sentence.

Meerut SSP Onkar Singh said a case of sedition was registered based on the details provided by the university authorities. “The case will be investigated and action can be taken if anyone is found guilty. But how can we investigate a case against unidentified students,” he said.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted that the “sedition charge against Kashmiri students is an unacceptably harsh punishment that will ruin their futures and will further alienate them”.

While stating that “what the boys may have done in Meerut is misguided, (but) it certainly isn’t illegal,” Abdullah tweeted, “Have just spoken to CM UP who has assured me he will personally look into the matter of the Kashmiri students in Meerut.”

He further tweeted, “I believe the university did what it had to to control the situation but this action by the UP Govt is uncalled for & should be reversed.”

PDP spokesperson Nayeem Akhar said the UP government’s action would lead to further alienation. The separatist leadership also expressed concern. “This reflects that Kashmiri people are under suppression in every place’’ said Syed Ali Geelani. Hurriyat Conference Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq termed it as a reflection of communal mindset and racial bias.

Meanwhile, the Meerut SSP said a magisterial inquiry is already underway. “We are waiting for the findings of the magisterial inquiry and will take action after that,” said District Magistrate Pankaj Yadav.

Mukesh Wallia ,general secretary, Meerut Bar Association, said the FIR filed by the SVSU was “weak”. Pointing out that the FIR was lodged against “unidentified” students, he said, “If that particular group is unidentified, how can these students be suspended?” he said.

Most of the students who returned to their homes in the Valley said they would not go back to the university as they feared for their lives.

Ajaz Ahmad, a student, alleged that the Kashmiri students were targeted after the match. “The window panes of our hostel were broken. We all slept in one room as we were afraid that we would be attacked at night,’’ he said.

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    ali
    Mar 6, 2014 at 10:11 am
    Kashimir students celebrating stans victory shows that inda can conquer and occupy Lands by forces but not the Hearts !! they beats with stan !
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      amit
      Mar 6, 2014 at 11:08 am
      All students who are celebrating are anti Indian
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        amit
        Mar 6, 2014 at 11:01 am
        Kashmir students celebrating clearcly shows that they are supporters of terrorists and need to be kicked off from India
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          Sidha Dimag
          Mar 6, 2014 at 4:57 pm
          This evidently speaks of Ulta Pradesh (UP's nickname) government's misplaced patriotism. stan has won and some people became joyous or maybe overjoyous. What's wrong in that? See the fun, sedition case against 'unidentified' students, UP govt is playing Don Quixote?
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            baikaar
            Mar 6, 2014 at 12:35 pm
            No body is forcing India to keep occupying Kashmir against Kashmiris wishes.
            Reply
            1. B
              Bil
              Mar 6, 2014 at 11:08 am
              They are more than just welcome here!
              Reply
              1. D
                Diva
                Mar 6, 2014 at 12:27 pm
                Indians are the most hypocrits of all people.Cheering a better playing squad is sedition.It can only happen in India. I always cheered for stan but nothing happened.I was never charged for sedition.And stan won the world cup!1992!
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                  Akshay
                  Mar 6, 2014 at 4:36 pm
                  This story is now starting to appear in the news in America. It will be a huge international embarrment to India if anyone is thrown in prison just for supporting a team in a cricket match. It gives the impression that India is run by overgrown children who can't stand to hear anything that hurts their feelings. How can you say with a straight face that there is freedom of speech in India when someone can't even say which cricket team they support without being hauled off to jail?
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                    Sishtla Narayana
                    Mar 6, 2014 at 2:35 pm
                    UP government is digging its own grave. Every sports loving person will appreciate good performances. It is ridiculous and foolishly outrageous to charge the students with sedition. At least the major political parties should come out and condemn this or courts should intervene and do justice to the students to prove that India is still is a democratic country.
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                      Aniket
                      Mar 7, 2014 at 4:14 am
                      These guys are aware of the consequence of this act, Still they did that. Cmon man its not Ind vs Aus or Ind Vs Srilanka where you can cheer when opponent wins. This act was responsible to spread Communal Tension between people which we dont want to spread. So instead of sedition, they should be charged for spreading communal Tension.
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                        Guest
                        Mar 6, 2014 at 10:48 am
                        send all these Pak lovers to stan and let them find out life in stan.
                        Reply
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                          sriram Subramanian
                          Mar 6, 2014 at 4:29 pm
                          so anybody who disagrees with you can go to ? that's just immature.
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                            NarayanaS
                            Mar 6, 2014 at 5:01 pm
                            Many Indian immigrants living in England, Australia, NZ and SA cheer Indian teams in matches with local teams, may be they all should be jailed or deprorted!!
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