India-Pak T20 match: Agra Police seek UP govt sanction to prosecute 3 Kashmiri students for sedition
Agra Police has written to the Uttar Pradesh government seeking permission for prosecution sanction against the three Kashmiri students who were arrested for sedition and other charges after the Pakistan cricket team’s victory over India at the T20 World Cup match in October.
The accused, meanwhile, have sought a transfer of their case from Agra to Mathura.
The three students — Arsheed Yusuf, Inayat Altaf Sheikh and Showkat Ahmed Ganai — were arrested for allegedly sharing anti-India messages on WhatsApp after Pakistan’s victory in the match, police had said. They are currently lodged at the Agra district jail.
Police applied for sanction after they collected “evidence” against them, according to Pravindra Kumar Singh, the investigating officer for the case and station house officer of the Jagdishpura police station. The cases against the three were registered in Jagdishpura, Agra.
Prosecution sanction has been sought under sections 124-A (sedition), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 505 (1)(B) (with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public) of the Indian Penal Code, said Singh.
The First Information Report (FIR) against the three also includes Section 66-F of the Information Technology Act (cyber terrorism).
Sections 124-A, 153-A and 505 (1)(B) need to be approved by the state government before the charges are accepted in a court of law.
“We have sought sanction in those three IPC sections and waiting for government’s approval before filing charge sheet,” the SHO said on Friday.
Sources said Agra Police have sent all details of the case to the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government to verify and decide on prosecution approval.
In October, the three Kashmiris — studying at an Agra engineering college under the Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme for J&K students — were arrested for allegedly sending WhatsApp messages “against the country” after the match.
They were arrested amid protests outside their college over their purported messages. Soon after, the college too rusticated the three students. The families of the three then appealed the UP government to drop the cases against them and “forgive them for their mistake”.
The three students were heckled by some unidentified people when they were first produced before a local court in Agra in October.
Advocates in Agra also refused to represent the accused, prompting their families to approach Mathura-based lawyer Madhuvan Dutt.
Dutt said on Friday he has filed a petition to seek a transfer of the cases against the three from Agra to Mathura, apart from their bail plea pending before the Allahabad High Court.
“Petition seeking direction for transfer of trial from Agra to Mathura is pending in High Court. The bail application of all three Kashmiri students are also pending in high court,” said Dutt.