Sedition charges on 5 in Bikaner, many booked across India for celebrating Pak win
Five people were slapped with sedition charges in Rajasthan on Wednesday for allegedly celebrating Pakistan’s shock victory over India in the Champions Trophy final in London, police said.
They were among at least three dozen people, including three minors, booked in three different states over similar allegations.
The latest arrests came a day after 15 people were charged with sedition in Madhya Pradesh for allegedly shouting slogans and lighting firecrackers to celebrate Pakistan’s victory.
A person convicted for sedition --- a law introduced by the British --- can be jailed for life.
Critics accuse the BJP-led government at the Centre of allegedly misusing the harsh law to target anyone suspected of showing dissent. Muslims organisations say the community is often targetted on trumped-up charges that doubt their patriotism.
Police said the five people of Bikaner were first arrested on lesser charges after residents of the Subhashpura area accused a group of Muslims youth of beating drums and shouting “Pakistan zindabad” slogans to celebrate the neighbouring country’s shock victory on Sunday. They were arrested and remanded in judicial custody.
However, the right-wing Hindu Jagran Manch and other organisations submitted memoranda to the district collector and superintendent of police, demanding stringent action against the accused.
Station house in-charge of sadar police station Laxmansingh Rathor told HT a new case was registered on Wednesday under different laws including 124A (sedition).
In Kerala’s northern district of Kasaragod, 23 people were booked on Wednesday for allegedly shouting slogans and celebrating Pakistan’s victory.
A BJP leader approached police with photos that purportedly show the celebrations. Police said preliminary investigations confirmed slogan shouting.
A senior police officer said the youngsters were booked for different charges including unlawful assembly, rioting and provocation.
The state unit of the BJP has demanded a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
The communally volatile north Kerala district hit the headlines after the disappearance of 21 youth who reportedly joined the Islamic State in Afghanistan. Four of the 21 have been killed in fighting so far.
Earlier on Tuesday, three minor Muslim boys were held for allegedly shouting pro-Pakistan slogans in Uttarakhand’s Mussorie.
They were produced in a juvenile court and were sent to correctional centre, sub-inspector Rajiv Routhen said.
Cricket matches between India and arch-rival Pakistan often inflame passions in both countries where the sport has millions of followers.
Indian captain Virat Kohli and some other players were criticised by a section of fans for their post-match camaraderie with the Pakistani players. Others, however, praised Kohli for his sportsmanship after he praised the winning team.
(With agency inputs)
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