Jammu and Kashmir Police booked seven students of Agriculture University under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) allegedly for raising pro-Pakistan slogans after Australia defeated India in the Cricket World Cup final held recently.
According to the police, a student from Punjab, studying at the Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry department at Ganderbal branch of Jammu and Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, filed a complaint alleging that seven Kashmiris raised pro-Pakistan slogans and threatened to “shoot him.” The complainant also alleged that pro-Pakistan slogans created fear among students who belonged to regions other than Jammu and Kashmir.
Following the complaint, the students were charged under Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and Sections 505 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Meanwhile, the J&K Students Association urged Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to drop the UAPA charges against seven Kashmiri students. In a statement, National Convenor of the Association Nasir Khuehami said seven Kashmiri students enrolled at the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir were arrested after celebrating India's World Cup loss and booked under UAPA.
Khuehami said invoking UAPA charges on students was "an unacceptably harsh punishment that could ruin their futures." "The charges will have serious consequences on the academic and future career of the students and should be immediately withdrawn. It may have serious repercussions both in the long term and short term. The charges may also lead to serious psychosomatic repercussions for the students and, therefore, should be withdrawn immediately. We are not justifying their act, but such harsh charges will result in their career assassination," Khuehami said.
Cricket controversies in Kashmir and with Kashmiris living outside the region are not new.
In October 2021, three Kashmiri students enrolled in RBS Engineering College UP under the PM Special Scholarship Scheme for the students of J-K were arrested for allegedly posting a WhatsApp status praising Pakistan players after their victory against India in a T20 cricket match.
The Agra police had booked them under sedition and cyber terrorism charges under Indian Penal Code sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity between groups) and 505(1)(b) (cause fear or alarm to the public) and section 66F (cyber terrorism) of the Information Technology Act.
In 2016, a row erupted at NIT Srinagar during a cricket match between India and the West Indies. First, local Kashmiri students celebrated the West Indies' win in the semifinal. They shouted pro-West Indies slogans. This infuriated non-local students and they hoisted the tricolour inside the campus. Then they tried to take out a procession outside the campus.
In 2014, a diplomatic row broke out between India and Pakistan when the Pakistani Foreign Office objected to the expulsion of 67 Kashmiri students in UP for celebrating Pakistan's victory against India in the Asia Cup. The students of Swami Vivekananda Subharti University in Meerut were expelled from the hostel after they had cheered the Pakistan cricket team against India.