LUCKNOW: Some 60 students from Indian-held Kashmir may face sedition charges for cheering Pakistan’s victory over arch-rivals India in a cricket match, police said Thursday.
Police were investigating the students following a complaint from university officials in the northern city of Meerut over celebrations following Pakistan’s win on Sunday in an Asia Cup clash. The students, all enrolled at the Swami Vivekanand Subharti University (SVSU), have been suspended and were escorted from campus over what the vice chancellor called “unacceptable” behaviour after the match. “The SVSU administration on Wednesday submitted a written complaint against unknown persons for indulging in anti-national activities and creating a ruckus on the university campus,” Meerut police chief Omkar Singh told AFP.
“We have registered a case and the probe is on,” Singh said. “If evidence is established against the accused, there is a set legal procedure to be followed in such cases. The law will take its own course,” he said, adding that any charges would be ones of sedition. Many Kashmiris associate more with Pakistan than with Hindu-majority India. Indian-occupied Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said any sedition charges would be too harsh. “Sedition charge against Kashmiri students is an unacceptably harsh punishment that will ruin their futures & will further alienate them,” Abdullah said on Twitter.
“I believe what the students did was wrong & misguided but they certainly didn’t deserve to have charges of sedition slapped against them.” The trouble began when the students were watching the game on TV in the university’s community hall. Pakistan sealed victory by one wicket when Shahid Afridi smashed two consecutive sixes. Some of the students were accused of chanting “Pakistan zindabad (hail Pakistan)” and damaging university property during the resulting celebrations, a university official said on condition of anonymity.
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