The Jammu and Kashmir Police have dropped charges under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) against seven students of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST), who were arrested for an alleged confrontation over India’s loss to Australia in the men’s Cricket World Cup final on 19 November.
The students were arrested after a student complained he was allegedly threatened and pro-Pakistan slogans were raised following Australia’s victory against India in the cricket World Cup final.
As the bail petition came up for hearing on Saturday at the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court in Ganderbal, the police informed the court that charges under UAPA against the seven have been dropped, Indian Express reported.
The police decision to invoke UAPA had come under criticism from former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.
“Senior prosecuting officer analysed circumstances, evidence and statements on record opined that at this stage as per the evidence on record doesn’t connect the accused persons to the commission of offenses 13 UA(P) Act but the offence under section 153-A IPC is attracted in the instant case while ast section 13 UA(P) Act is dropped (sic),” the police informed the court.
“So as per investigation of the case and opinion sought from the senior prosecuting officer section 13 UA9P) Act has been dropped from the instant case while as section 153-A IPC has bee incorporated in the instant case.”
After the police’s submission, the court granted interim bail for 111 days to the arrested students.
Human rights activists have debunked the use of terror laws against Kashmiris for not supporting India during sporting events.
Due to hostilities, the National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Srinagar, in 2022, asked its students not to watch the India-Pakistan Asia Cup cricket match in groups or post anything related to it on social media platforms.
After that match, a WhatsApp status about Pakistan’s victory landed three Kashmiri students in Uttar Pradesh’s Agra jailed for sedition and suspended by the college authorities.