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Police says “softer provision of UAPA” invoked against arrested students

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Srinagar, Nov 28: Facing flak from a section of politicians, the police on Tuesday defended booking under UAPA seven SKUAST students who had allegedly raised objectionable slogans after the Indian cricket team’s defeat in the World Cup final, saying it had invoked a “softer provision” of the anti-terror law.

Several politicians, including the former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, have condemned the action by police, alleging that it will disaffect the youths with such an extreme punishment.

In a statement on Tuesday, police said that the boys (students of SKUAST Kashmir) have been booked under section 13 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, or UAPA, and added “in contrast to other provisions of the Act, it is a softer provision of the Act.”

Section 13 of the UAPA deals with the inciting or advising of any unlawful activity and is punishable with seven years’ jail.

The students have also been slapped with provisions of 505 and 506 which deal with public mischief and criminal intimidation of the Indian Penal Code, under which, if convicted, the jail term can go up to five years.

Police said the incident was not merely about raising pro-Pakistan slogans. “…these slogans, as has usually been the case with a select few bullies, were aired to intimidate those who disagreed and also to identify and vilify those who choose to keep a distance.

“The incident came on the back of separatist and terrorist networks,” they said.

The statement also defended police action saying the youths’ aim was neither about airing personal preference of a particular sporting team, nor about dissent or freedom of expression. “It is about terrorising others who may be nourishing pro-India feelings or anti-Pakistan feelings or disagreeing. There were written complaints to evidence this,” it statement said.

Police said the FIR was lodged on the basis of a written complaint and sections were invoked as per the contents of the complaint.

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