Srinagar, February 18 (KMS): In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the families of three Kashmiri students, who have spent over three months in jail for celebrating the Pakistan cricket team’s win over India last year, have appealed for their release.
The young students Arshed Yousuf, Inayat Altaf and Showkat Ahmad Ganai were arrested in October 2021 on sedition charges in the Indian northern city of Agra in Uttar Pradesh state for sending WhatsApp messages on Pakistan victory against India after Pakistan thrashed India in the T20 World Cup cricket match in the United Arab Emirates. The three students were enrolled at Raja Balwant Singh Engineering College in Agra.
They faced a hostile crowd outside the court in Agra city where they were heckled, and lawyers in the city refused to represent them. Finally, a lawyer from the neighbouring district of Mathura took their cases.
Their bail hearings have been postponed at least eight times, their families said, adding that they have appealed to the Uttar Pradesh government to drop the cases against them.
“My son only loved cricket. He was never interested in anything else like politics. He was always concerned with his studies and his game,” said Inayat’s mother, Waheeda, in Budgam district. She said, “We came to know from the social media on October 27 last year about his arrest over the cricket match post.”
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath — known for anti-Muslim bigotry — had warned sedition law would be slapped against people who celebrated the Pakistan cricket team’s victory against India.
The other detained student Arsheed Yousuf who is an orphan and his mother Haneefa who did odd jobs to educate her children now feels helpless. Haneefa, who lives in a one-room house with her two daughters have no source of income and her son’s arrest miles away from her home added problems to her how to met son in Indian jail.
At the home of the third student, Showkat Ahmad Ganai, in Bandipora district, his aged parents and two sisters are desperate, too. The father Muhammad Shaban Ganai, 60, is a casual labourer. The family had to sell their cow and took credit from people to afford the money to fight the case.