0 3 min 4 weeks

The Jammu and Kashmir Police announced on Tuesday that it had invoked a “softer provision” of the anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

The police defended its action, stating that it was not just about raising pro-Pakistan slogans, but also about the “full context”, including “intimidating” and “terrorising” those who disagreed, and “normalising an abnormal”. The police emphasized that this abnormal behavior is mostly practiced by separatist and terrorist networks.

The seven students of the Veterinary Sciences faculty at the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) were arrested on November 20, following a complaint filed by another student. The complaint alleged that the students had abused and threatened to shoot him for supporting India during a match, and had also raised pro-Pakistan slogans, creating fear among students from outside the region.

In response to criticism from former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, the JK Police stated that the issue was not simply about raising pro-Pakistan slogans, but about intimidating those who disagreed and normalizing anti-India sentiments. The police also emphasized that the invocation of Section 13 of UAPA was appropriate for the situation.

Section 13 of the UAPA deals with inciting or advising unlawful activity and is punishable by seven years’ imprisonment.

The police also defended the application of the law, stating that the right law had been applied based on the contents of the complaints received. Section 505 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code were also invoked for ‘public mischief’ and ‘criminal intimidation’, respectively.

Mehbooba Mufti criticized the police action and sought intervention from the Lt Governor, while Omar Abdullah expressed concern about the impact of the police action on the students’ futures.

Senior CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami also criticized the invocation of UAPA against students for celebrating a sports event, stating that it reflects a recurring misuse of the Act and unprecedented curbs on expression. He emphasized that sports should be viewed as a recreational activity and should not be politicized.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *