Kashmiri students accused in sedition case in Hubli sent to judicial custody
A court in Karnataka’s Hubli on Monday sent three students from Kashmir to judicial custody after they were arrested on Sunday, for the second time, on charges of sedition for allegedly shouting pro-Pakistan slogans.
Karnataka’s home minister Basavaraj Bommai defended the police action against the civil engineering students at the KLE Institute of Technology in Hubli, about 400km north of Bengaluru.
“Any anti-national will have to face the law,” the minister said.
Responding to questions about why the students were arrested on Saturday and released on a bond only to be rearrested on Sunday, Bommai said the police commissioner had asked for a report on the incident and that the matter was being investigated.
Talib Majeed, Basit Asif Sofi and Amir Mohiuddin Wahi were hit with shoes and slippers earlier in the day by members of right-wing organisations protesting against them and shouting slogans of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram.’
They were attacked when they were being taken away from the court of the judicial magistrate first class (JMFC). Police intervened quickly and took away the students.
The students, said to be from Shopian in Kashmir, were rearrested on Sunday for allegedly shouting pro-Pakistan slogans.
They have been accused of celebrating the Pulwama terror attack with slogans of azadi or freedom set to the song of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISI), Pakistan’s military media wing, on February 14, the first anniversary of the suicide bombing that killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers.
A video of their alleged celebration was widely shared on social media prompting college principal Basavraj Anami to suspend them pending investigation on Saturday.
The district lawyers’ association in Hubli has passed a resolution saying that none of its members would represent the accused.
The president of district lawyer’s association, Guru Hiremath, said that all the 1600 odd members had unanimously decided to not represent those accused of anti-national activities.
Members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student organisation affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), protested against what they called the police mishandling of the incident which they said resulted in the release of the accused before they were rearrested.