An Indian court has released on bail seven Kashmiri students who were initially arrested under anti-terrorism laws for allegedly celebrating Australia’s win over India in the Cricket World Cup final.
The students from an agriculture university in the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir were accused of using anti-India slogans and supporting Pakistan, leading to their detention.
Critics argued that the arrests were an attempt to intimidate locals, with the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) initially applied. However, the UAPA charges were dropped, and the students were granted bail on the condition of cooperating with the investigation and refraining from engaging in any anti-national activities.
Despite the release, the students, living in the contested region of Kashmir, still face allegations under other Indian laws related to making statements inducing public mischief.
Kashmir, claimed by both India and Pakistan, has a history of tensions, and its Muslim-majority population has sometimes expressed support for Pakistan in cricket matches as a form of protest against Indian rule.
The arrests drew criticism from those opposing the Modi government’s control over the region, who saw the use of anti-terrorism laws as an attempt to suppress dissent in the politically sensitive area.