The J&K police on Tuesday lodged two First Information Reports (FIRs) under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) a day after multiple videos allegedly showed students of two medical colleges in Srinagar celebrating the Pakistan cricket team’s victory over India in the T20 World Cup on Sunday.
“Two FIRs have been lodged and investigations are on,” a senior police officer told The Hindu .
Multiple videos, including those of medical students, went viral on social media on Sunday night, immediately after the Pakistan Team won the match in Dubai. In a few videos, students were seen cheering and raising slogans. The videos evoked sharp reactions on social media, with demands for action against these students.
The FIRs have been lodged in Srinagar’s Soura and Kara Nagar police stations, which have jurisdictions over the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) and the Government Medical College, Srinagar, respectively.
The cases have been filed under Section 13 of the UAPA and Sections 105-A and 505 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). No arrests were made till late in the evening in the cases as the police were checking the veracity of the videos, officials said.
Official sources said the FIRs mentioned that “the students pursuing MBBS and other degrees raised slogans and burst firecrackers” and “were crying and dancing”.
Several medical students termed the police action “harsh” and “unprecedented”.
"Students have been cheering for all the players, irrespective of their teams, who played well during the India-Pakistan clash. It’s a sport and people entertain themselves by cheering for their favourites. It’s unfortunate the police took such a harsh decision after coming under pressure from social media activists,” one medical student told The Hindu.
Parties condemn action
Former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti warned that such steps will “alienate them further”.
“The Home Minister’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ with Kashmiri youth started with slapping the UAPA against medical students for celebrating Pakistan’s win. Instead of trying to ascertain why educated youth choose to identify with Pakistan, the Government of India is resorting to vindictive actions,” she said.
Peoples Conference chief Sajad Lone said punitive actions won’t help.
“We live in Kashmir and have to live with those who are ideologically opposed to us. But we are confident that it is a game of narratives, of discourses. And that we will win. We don’t see anti-Indian-ism or pro-Pakistan-ism as an irreversible condition. It is at best a curable disease. Let us cure it. Allow us to cure it,” Mr. Lone said.
CPI (M) secretary Ghulam Nabi Malik also termed the FIRs against students “unwarranted and unnecessary”.
“We demanded immediate roll back of the charges against them,” he said.
J&K Students Association spokesman Nasir Khuehami urged Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to withdraw the UAPA charges on humanitarian grounds against the students.
“The UAPA charges against students is a harsh punishment and will ruin their futures and will further alienate them,” he said.