Families Struggling For Bail Bonds To Get Three Kashmiri Students Out of Agra Jail

SRINAGAR: Three Kashmiri students who were arrested for “sedition” and granted bail after more than 150 days have their families busy in a different struggle. Their wards will move out of jail only after they will find six persons who will submit surety bonds ensuring they will not flout the set conditions for the trial.

Three Kashmiri engineering students – Arshad Yousuf, Inayat Altaf Sheikh and Showkat Ahmad Ganaie were arrested for celebrating Pakistan’s T20 win and sent to Agra jail on October 27, 2021. Allahabad High Court granted them bail on March 31, 2022.

“My nephew will be home and there can’t be a bigger joy for us,” Muhammad Younus Paul, uncle of Arshad Yousuf – one of the three students – told Chandigarh newspaper The Tribune. Pauls’, the newspaper said are struggling to find six persons with each having Rs 1 lakh in their bank accounts to furnish surety bonds to secure his release. “Until the final verdict of the case, the money will be withheld in the accounts of six people. It’s really difficult to find six persons who can come to my nephew’s rescue.”

The Kashmir trio Arshad, Inayat Altaf Sheikh and Showkat Ahmad Ganaie were arrested for celebrating Pakistan’s T20 win over India and are in jail since October 27. The match was on October 24. Their WhatsApp status triggered some protests and in quick follow up, their college – Raja Balwant Singh Engineering Technical College – rusticated them and, on a BJP complaint, police registered a case and arrested the three boys.

They landed in another crisis in finding a lawyer to plead their case. Finally, the Allahabad High Court granted them bail on Thursday. The court observed that the Kashmir trio was falsely implicated in a case that resulted from “rivalries over trivial issues”, news website Scroll reported.

“The court on Thursday said that the applicants did not raise anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans,” the website reported. “The applicants are responsible Indian citizens who hail from the State of Jammu and Kashmir which is the very embodiment of Indian values,” it quoted the court order saying.

The court has observed that it was the duty of the state to enable conditions for visiting scholars to live as per values prescribed in the Constitution. “Students travelling freely to different parts of the country in the quest for knowledge is the true celebration of India’s diversity and a vivid manifestation of India’s unity,” the court has said. “It is also the obligation of the young scholars to imbibe and adhere to such values.”

Judge Ajay Bhanot wrote in the order: “The unity of India is not made of bamboo reeds which will bend to the passing winds of empty slogans. The foundations of our nation are more enduring. Eternal ideals bind the indestructible unity of India. Constitutional values create an indissoluble union of India. Every citizen of the country is the custodian, and the State is the sentinel of the unity of India and the constitutional values of the nation.”

In the bail order, the court, according to the website has remarked on the instance of the lawyers’ associations urging their members to not represent the Kashmiri students. “The Court does not propose to enquire into this allegation at this stage since it is better to enlarge the applicants on bail and cut the controversy short,” the order has said. “However, the Court feels that if the allegations are true, it is a matter of concern. Lawyers have an oath inscribed in their consciences to assist the cause of law under all circumstances and to serve justice to all those who seek it at all times.”

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