India may call itself to be a secular nation. However, its people are yet to learn the true meaning of the term secular. How else can one explain the heinous act of expelling an individual from a university simply because he/she supports the neighboring country? That is exactly what happened to over 66 students in Kashmir who after celebrating the victory of a cricket found themselves rusticated from their university and threatened with sedition charges by the police. Their crime is that they celebrated the victory of Pakistan over India in a cricket match.
The Chief Minister of Northern Uttar Pradesh State, Akhliesh Yadav had reportedly asked the officials not to press sedition charges (hold the probability of life sentences) against the students who he urged, would have committed the actions without knowing their seriousness. The police dropped the sedition charges later in the day as well. However, the news has met with widespread criticism across India, with many openly protesting the expulsion of the students in the Indian portion of Kashmir.
Kashmir remains to be disputed Himalayan territory that both India and Pakistan claim to be theirs. Its predominantly Muslim population has time and again, come under the crossfire between both countries. Since 1989, insurgents have been fighting for the state’s independence or its unification with Pakistan.
Cricket, a sport to die for, is worshipped in both India and Pakistan. And it happens to be the only thing that seems to unite both these countries. However, the recent fracas over the cricket match between both countries reveals how tensions and grudges remain against Kashmir and its people.
Most of the students who were expelled were never given a chance to explain their actions. They even fail to understand as to what it was that they had done wrong. Local people and students attacked these students with abuses and stones after the match ended. The police on the other hand, urged the students to go home instead of acting against the locals who attacked them. In a statement released to the press, the banned Kashmir University Students Union revealed how the recent developments were a clear testimony of how things have not cooled down between them and India for the past 67 years.
It is said that the student’s cheers would have gone unnoticed had they been in Kashmir when Pakistan won the match. Immediately after the match ended, the streets of Kashmir lit up as hundreds of Kashmiris celebrated the victory by lighting firecrackers and chanting “Long Live Pakistan. We want freedom.”
The top elected official of the Indian portion of Kashmir, Omar Abdhullah indicated that while the students who had been expelled had done something wrong, they were misguided and young. As such, sedition charges would further alienate them and ruin their future.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani government has shown support for these students by offering them the opportunity to pursue their studies academic institutions in Pakistan.
Around 66 Kashmiri students were expelled from their university in Uttar Pradesh after celebrating Pakistan’s victory over India in a cricket match. The students also faced sedition charges that were dropped after the chief minister of the northern Uttar Pradesh state intervened. The developments show the strained relations India has with its neighbor, and with anyone supporting it. And despite being in India, the predominantly Muslim state of Kashmir still faces alienation from the rest of the country.