Seven Kashmiri students enrolled at the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ganderbal, have been arrested after a face-off with students from outside the Union territory over India’s loss to Australia in the men’s Cricket World Cup final on November 19.
A copy of the first information report, accessed by Scroll, shows the students have been booked under Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and Sections 505 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code related to public mischief and criminal intimidation.
Ganderbal Superintendent of Police Nikhil Borkar confirmed the arrest of the seven students. But he did not divulge the charges under which the students have been booked.
“We have invoked some sections but whenever there is an investigation in a case, some sections are added or deleted depending upon the findings of the investigation,” Borkar said. “The investigation is on and whatever will be there, we will let you know at that time.”
The case, lodged a day after the world cup final, has been registered on the basis of a complaint by a student from outside Jammu and Kashmir. The seven students were arrested on November 20.
In the complaint, the student has named seven local Kashmiri students enrolled at the university’s veterinary sciences and animal husbandry department who allegedly “abused” and “threatened” him for supporting India. They “also threatened me to shut up otherwise I would be shooted [sic],” the complaint reads.
The complaint also alleged that the accused students shouted slogans in support of Pakistan after the match “which created fear amongst the students from outside Union territory of J&K.”
A university official, who asked not to be identified, told Scroll that the incident unfolded in one of the two undergraduate hostels of the university’s Shuhama campus in Ganderbal district on November 19 after India lost to Australia in the final. “The complainants, who are students from mostly outside Jammu and Kashmir, allege that some local students, who also stay in the hostel, were jubilant and started sloganeering in the hostel environment,” the official said. “They also allege that some students also came to threaten them.”
While there was no violence or clash between the students, the official added, the complainants took a video of the purported sloganeering inside the hostel. “They have submitted a video to the police in which some students are shouting slogans in the dark,” the official said.
According to the official, the seven accused students, who are currently in police remand, are mostly fourth-year undergraduate students in veterinary sciences and animal husbandry.
“It’s an unfortunate incident. These students are on the verge of the completion of their degrees,” the official said.
In cricket matches involving India, Kashmiris have often cheered the competing side – often a way of expressing their dissatisfaction with the Indian state.
This is not the first time that a cricket match has led to a confrontation between local and non-local students at an educational institute in Jammu and Kashmir.
In 2021, too, the Jammu and Kashmir Police booked students and staff of medical colleges who celebrated the Pakistani cricket team’s victory over India in the T20 World Cup match, under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
In 2016, students at Srinagar’s National Institute of Technology clashed after India lost to the West Indies in the semi-final of the T20 World Cup. In a similar fashion, the non-local students had then accused local Kashmiri students of celebrating India’s loss, leading to violent clashes.
The clashes had spun out of control, with the police firing teargas shells and carrying out a lathicharge on campus. The incident had also prompted non-local students to demand the shifting of the institute’s campus outside the Kashmir valley.