Three Kashmiri students who were arrested in Uttar Pradesh in October for allegedly celebrating Pakistan’s win in a cricket match, walked out of an Agra jail on Monday, nearly a month after they got bail, The Indian Express reported.
The Allahabad High Court had granted them bail on March 30, saying that the three students had been falsely implicated in a case that resulted from “rivalries over trivial issues”. However, they remained in custody till Monday as no person was ready to be the guarantor for their surety. The purpose of surety is to make a person responsible for the act of accused persons after release.
“They have suffered a great deal, from being roughed up at the Agra Sessions Court to facing recurrent delays in hearings,” Nasir Khuehami, spokesperson of the J&K Students’ Association told The Indian Express.
Three days after Pakistan beat India in a T20 World Cup match on October 24, Arsheed Yusuf, Inayat Altaf Sheikh and Showkat Ahmed Ganai were arrested on the basis of a complaint filed by a Bharatiya Janata Party youth wing leader.
Members of the BJP’s Yuva Morcha, as well as other Hindutva groups, also accused the Kashmiri students of chanting “anti-national” slogans. In protests held at the college campus, they demanded stricter action against the students. They have been charged with sedition.
The Agra police had booked the students under Sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc) and 505 (1)(B) (with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public) of the Indian Penal Code. They had also been booked for “cyber terrorism” under Section 66F of the Information Technology Act.
The students also had difficulty finding representation after several lawyers’ associations had told their members not to take up their case. Members of the BJP’s youth wing and some lawyers had even heckled the students when they were presented at a local court in Agra for the first time on October 28.