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'India's unity not made of bamboo reeds': After 6 months, bail for youths who supported Pakistan in cricket match

Three Kashmiri youths arrested for supporting Pakistan during the T20 World Cup match in October last year were finally given bail. Hearing their plea under 'exceptional circumstances', the judge had some significant things to say.

Indias unity not made of bamboo reeds: After 6 months, bail for youths who supported Pakistan in cricket match

Three three arrested youths had been roughed up outside an Agra court last year. (Screenshot)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 31 March 2022 2:14 PM GMT

The three Kashmiri students who had been languishing in Uttar Pradesh jails since October 2021 for supporting Pakistan in a cricket match have finally been given bail.

The three – Arsheed Yusuf, Inayat Altaf Sheikh and Showkat Ahmed Ganai – are students of an engineering college in Agra. They were arrested on October 27 for allegedly chanting pro-Pakistan slogans during the India-Pakistan match at the T20 World Cup. They were earlier also allegedly denied legal help in Agra and were assaulted at an Agra court.

The Allahabad High Court gave the bail to the three youths on Wednesday, hearing their bail plea under 'exceptional circumstances' given the history of the case.

The Bench of Justice Ajay Bhanot, passing the bail order, had some significant things to say.

"The unity of India is not made of bamboo reeds which will bend to the passing winds of empty slogans. The foundations of our nation are more enduring," he said.

"Students travelling freely to different parts of the country in the quest for knowledge is the true celebration of India's diversity and a vivid manifestation of India's unity. It is the duty of the people of the hosting State to create enabling conditions for visiting scholars to learn and to live the constitutional values of our nation," he added.

"It is informed that the Agra District Bar Association had passed a resolution for not providing any legal assistance to the applicants. The applicants were also assaulted in the District Court at Agra. The Court does not propose to enquire into this allegation at this stage since it is better to enlarge the applicants on bail and cut the controversy short. However, the Court feels that if the allegations are true, it is a matter of concern. Lawyers have an oath inscribed in their consciences to assist the cause of law under all circumstances and to serve justice to all those who seek it at all times," the order said about the allegations that the defendants had been denied legal help and assaulted inside a courtroom in Agra.

The three had been booked under Sections 124 A (sedition), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 505 (1) (B) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 66-F (cyber-terrorism) of the Information Technology Act for allegedly sending WhatsApp messages "against the country" after the match.

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