Kashmiri students arrested for celebrating India's Cricket World Cup defeat released on bail – 03/12/2023

Kashmiri students arrested for celebrating India's Cricket World Cup defeat released on bail – 03/12/2023

An Indian court has released on bail seven Kashmiri students who were arrested under anti-terrorism laws for allegedly celebrating Australia's victory over India in the Cricket World Cup final last month, it said a lawyer on Sunday.

Students of an agricultural college were arrested in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) after a student filed a complaint accusing them of using anti-India slogans and cheering for Pakistan at the same time. time as Australia after the match.

Claimed in full but governed in part by India and Pakistan, Muslim-majority Kashmir has been the scene of a bloody insurgency against New Delhi for decades. In the past, Muslims in the region have cheered for the opposing team during cricket matches in India, as a protest against Indian rule.

Local political leaders opposed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government's domination of J&K said the arrests were a way to intimidate locals using the strict Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). This law deals with incitement to any illegal activity and is punishable by seven years of imprisonment.

Police dropped the UAPA-related charges and an Indian court granted the students bail on Saturday, according to the students' lawyer, Shafiq Bhat, and a court order seen by Reuters.

While granting bail, the local court imposed the condition that the students be available when needed for investigation and that they "not indulge in any anti-national activities", according to the order.

The students are still being prosecuted under other Indian laws relating to statements inciting public disorder.

Australia had entered the World Cup match as underdogs against an all-conquering Indian team, who had won 10 matches in a row to reach the final. But India were defeated in the final on November 19.

India accuses Pakistan of supporting Muslim insurgents. Pakistan denies this and accuses India of violating the rights of the Muslim people of Kashmir, an accusation that India rejects.

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