SRINAGAR: Prof Saifuddin Soz has said he has written a letter to Home Minister pleading for the release of three Kashmiri students – Arshad Yousuf, Inayat Altaf Sheikh and Showkat Ahmad Ganai. The trio was arrested and lodged in Agra jail in October 2021 for allegedly cheering for the Pakistani cricket team.
“I invited the attention of the Home Minister to the fact that till now, the police had not been able to prove that these three Kashmiri students had cheered for the Pakistani team,” Soz said in a statement. “Instead, it was found that they had conveyed a screenshot of greetings to their friends.”
Soz said that the country’s legal system would help them move out of jail, finally, “but, it would be more graceful to release them immediately.”
The three students have now been formally charged by UP Police with cyber terrorism, sedition, promoting enmity between different groups and making statements likely to cause alarm to the public. The charge sheet was presented to the Agra chief judicial magistrate’s early this week. They will now be prosecuted, reports quoting the judicial order of January 27, said.
The trio was denied bail by the court.
The trio was arrested on October 27, three days after India lost to Pakistan in the world cup on October 24, 2021. The police were acting on the complaint by a local BJP leader. Beneficiaries of the Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme, were pursuing a course in civil engineering at Agra’s Raja Balwant Singh Engineering Technical College. A day after the match, the college authorities suspended the trio after finding “objectionable content” in their WhatsApp messenger statuses.
The students did not get a lawyer locally so the families hired a lawyer from the neighbouring Mathura district.