Press Trust of india

Families of 7 arrested SKUAST students seek leniency

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Mehbooba Mufti says students should get another chance

Srinagar: Families of the seven agricultural university students arrested under UAPA for allegedly raising objectionable slogans after the Indian cricket team’s loss in the World Cup final on Wednesday appealed to police and Jammu and Kashmir administration for leniency as their career was at stake.

Students should get another chance, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti also said amidst separate rows over the arrest of the seven undergraduates of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST), Kashmir and the derogatory social media post by a student of the National Institute of Technology (NIT) that had sparked protests.

The families of the seven students at Shuhuma in Ganderbal district of central Kashmir met senior police officials of Ganderbal and sought leniency for them.

“I am speaking on behalf of all the seven families from Anantnag, Kulgam, Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora that it was an unfortunate, uncalled for and unwarranted incident. We all condemn it. It should not have happened,” Advocate Mohammad Shafi told reporters.

He said the families appealed to the J&K administration and the police to show leniency in the FIR lodged against the students.

“The families met Ganderbal police. We told the police that the students were intelligent and had qualified the NEET examination and were undergoing BVSc degrees.

“All the students belong to poor families. Their career is at stake, which needs to be saved. We are grateful to Ganderbal police for a positive response. They have also assured us that whatever help under the legal ambit is needed, will be provided to at least save their career,” Shafi said.

He appealed to the students at the campus to live with brotherhood and focus on their studies and career.

“We also advise our students not to do anything which could destroy their career, rather focus on your career to serve this country,” Shafi added.

The students have been arrested under the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). After political parties criticised it, the police defended its action and said they were booked under a “softer” provision.

Police have also filed a case for promoting religious enmity between communities against the NIT student in the other incident.

Speaking to reporters after addressing a workers’ convention at Zainpora in south Kashmir’s Shopian district, Mufti said action should be taken against the NIT student for the derogatory social media post, but asserted that students should be given another chance and no one should play with their future.

“If any student has done it, it is wrong. Our students from SKUAST were booked under UAPA which is unjustified as they did not commit any crime.

“So, I hope that action will be taken against the student who has made derogatory remarks. But, I want to say this also that students should get another chance whether they are from SKUAST or this (NIT), their future should not be played with,” she said.

On the issue of the arrest of seven students, Mufti said that “sports should be treated as sports, and not made a crime”.

Meanwhile, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulama (MMU) – a conglomerate of various religious bodies in Jammu and Kashmir – condemned the blasphemous social media post by the NIT student.

The MMU, headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, demanded a thorough investigation into the incident, a statement said.

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