Police Arrest Kashmiri Muslims in Victory Over India

Pakistan’s Shaheen Shah Afridi (L) celebrates with his captain Babar Azam (C) during the ICC men’s Twenty20 World Cup cricket match between India and Pakistan in Dubai.

Last Sunday, three Kashmiri Muslims were arrested in India after allegedly celebrating Pakistan’s win over India in the T20 World Cup. On Tuesday evening, Vikash Kumar, the police superintendent in Agra, said students at the Raja Balwant Singh (RBS) engineering college sent “anti-national” messages following last Saturday’s match between the two cricketing rivals.  It was announced Wednesday that five people were arrested after anti-national elements made anti-India comments and disrupted peace in Uttar Pradesh following incidents throughout the state

As CNN reported last Thursday, police said three students were arrested on Wednesday “for committing an offense with the intent of causing fear or alarm among the public, or too many segments of the public that may be induced to commit an offense against the State.”  In a colonial-era law, words or acts either spoken or written or by symbols or visual representations, that aim to cause hatred or contempt for the government, are prohibited.  Nasir Khuehami, the national spokesperson for the Jammu and Kashmir Students Association, was quoted by CNN as saying the three students accused of terrorism are Muslim students from Indian-controlled Kashmir.

“Today, I attended another nearby understudy, a non-Kashmiri student, which is entirely focusing on Kashmiri Muslims. It’s true that they cheered (for Pakistan) and posted something online, but the dissenters claim that they shouted names of enemies of India and said good things for partisan accounts,” Khuehami told CNN.  Local students told me this false story was deliberately used as a scapegoat ahead of the Uttar Pradesh elections.

In 2022, the first legislative elections will be held in Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state. After arraigned in court, right-wing activists roughed them up in front of police minutes ago, Khuehami said. “There is no need to mix politics and nationalism with cricket; everyone has the right to root for whatever team they like most,” Nasir Khuehami, national spokesman for the Jammu and Kashmir Students Association, told CNN.  In Kashmir, India, and Pakistan, each administers part of the territory. This has been a source of tension between the two neighboring countries since independence.

In 2019, the Indian central government took greater control of this area and suspended several freedoms, including a five-month internet shutdown. Increasing conflicts have recently occurred in the militarized region. “It is not wrong to cheer for a sportsperson or a cricket player, but charging them with sedition, or an FIR (First Information Report), we believe it is wrong, and we shouldn’t mix cricket with politics,” Khuehami stated.  “I feel cricket has been tainted by politics and nationalism unnecessarily. It is an individual’s right to cheer or support any team they like, and this action by the college administration and the Uttar Pradesh government was arbitrary,” Khuehami said, adding that the three students at RBS engineering college had also been suspended by the administration there.

In a letter to the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, the Jammu and Kashmir Students Association has asked him to withdraw the FIR against the Kashmiri students.

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