TWO days after Pakistan beat India by 10 wickets at their T20 World Cup match in Dubai, many, mostly students, face police action for “cheering” Pakistan’s win. A day after police booked medical students in Srinagar under anti-terror laws, half-a-dozen people were detained in Jammu region; an FIR was lodged against three engineering students from the Valley at Agra who were also rusticated from their college; and a private school in Udaipur expelled a teacher over a WhatsApp status update.
J&K BJP chief Ravinder Raina said: “Police, CID and NIA are taking action against (those who celebrated Pakistan’s victory) and all of them will be put in jail.”
Incidentally, Sunday’s match coincided with Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Kashmir, the first since the abrogation of J&K’s special status in August 2019. Shah made several statements reaching out to the youth of the Valley during his four-day visit.
Police in Samba, Jammu, confirmed detaining “six-seven people” of Chak Manga Gujjran village near the international border for questioning, over their alleged pro-Pakistan slogans following Pakistan’s victory Sunday night. “We have registered an FIR and more people may be called for questioning,” Samba SSP Rajesh Sharma said, adding that action will be taken against those found “guilty”. Deputy Commissioner Anuradha Gupta also confirmed the registration of a case.
There were protests in Samba district after a video of the alleged celebration went viral.
On Monday, the Srinagar police filed FIRs under sections of the UAPA against unnamed women hostel students of Government Medical College (GMC) and students at Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), after videos of “celebrations” on the campuses went viral.
The FIR filed at Karannagar Police Station over the GMC, Srinagar, incident says: “Some unidentified girl students celebrated Pakistan’s win inside the Government Medical College Srinagar and raised pro-Pakistan slogans against the sovereignty of India.” The FIR against SKIMS students, at Soura Police Station, is worded almost the same.
The J&K Students’ Association urged Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to withdraw the UAPA charges on humanitarian grounds. In a statement, reported by PTI, its national spokesperson Nasir Khuehami said the UAPA charges were harsh. “We are not justifying their act, but it will result in their career assassination,” Khuehami said.
Talking to reporters at Jammu, on the sidelines of a function organised by the BJP to celebrate Accession Day, J&K BJP chief Raina said: “Anyone who poses a threat to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our motherland will be bulldozed and crushed. FIRs have been registered against those who celebrated Pakistan’s win in Kashmir and elsewhere and created a ruckus under a conspiracy, and they are being identified.”
The Agra FIR followed a protest held at Raja Balwant Singh (RBS) Engineering Technical College by some Hindu outfits against alleged WhatsApp messages shared by three of its students, studying at the institute under the Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme for J&K students, following Pakistan’s win. The three, who apologised for the messages, were rusticated from the college. A college official said the students were on campus Tuesday night “under supervision of police officials”.
Agra SP (City) Vikas Kumar said, “Some messages were written on WhatsApp which were against the country.” The case was lodged under IPC Sections 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups), 505 (1) (B) (with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public), and 66-F of the IT Act.
A notice by the college’s Dean of Hostels, Dushyant Singh, said the three students had been “found involved in indiscipline… posting status in favour of Pakistan”.
RBS Chief Proctor Ashish Shukla told The Indian Express: “The three students supported Babar Azam (the Pakistan captain), and the Pakistan cricket team. After the matter came to our cognizance through other students, we questioned the students. We rusticated them from the college and the hostel.”
Shukla added: “The students apologised on social media saying they had made a mistake and that if they hurt someone’s sentiments, they were sorry… They are students and children, and have made a mistake. The rest depends on the officials.”
The action against the teacher at a private school in Rajasthan’s Udaipur came after her WhatsApp status featured a photo of Pakistani players and saying ‘We won’ in Hindi, following the match. She issued a video apology and said she didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s sentiments.
As screenshots of her WhatsApp status went viral, members of right-wing outfits gathered outside the school. On Monday, the school management issued a letter saying the teacher was being “immediately expelled”.
Dalpat Singh, SHO, Amba Mata Police Station, said a case was registered against the teacher under IPC Section 153 B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration).
In her apology, the teacher said: “We were watching the match and had divided both teams at home. And we were supporting our teams. This, in any way, does not mean that I am supporting Pakistan… Someone messaged me and said you are supporting Pakistan. As the message had emojis and there was a playful atmosphere of badinage, I said yes. This doesn’t mean I support Pakistan. I am an Indian, I love India. And I love India as much as you all do.”
She added that as soon as she realised her “mistake”, “I deleted the status message. I am sorry if I have hurt anybody’s sentiments.”
Political leaders in Kashmir criticised the police action against the students, saying it would “further alienate” the people of the Valley. PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti tweeted, “HM’s (Home Minister) Mann ki baat with Kashmiri youth started with slapping UAPA against medical students for celebrating Pakistan’s win.”
Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Lone posted: “If you think that they are not patriotic enough because they cheered for another team — you should have the courage and the belief to wean them back… Punitive actions won’t help. Have not helped in the past either.”
National Conference president Farooq Abdullah said the pro-Pakistan slogans were only meant to “provoke” the BJP over the abrogation of Article 370. “They (those who celebrated the win) don’t have anything to do with them (Pakistanis)… They were children and young boys,” Abdullah said at a public meeting in Surankote in Poonch district, as per a PTI report. “A volcano is building up even as they think they have silenced (the people).” —With PTI
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