SEDITION CHARGES AGAINST KASHMIRI STUDENTS SPARK OUTRAGE

Srinagar: The expulsion of Kashmiri students and slapping of sedition charge against Kashmiri studying in Meerut  drew widespread condemnation  Thursday .
Ruling National Conference (NC) expressed anger over the sedition charge, saying the students neither tried to bring down the government nor harm the national integrity.
“Expulsion of the students and then registration of a case of sedition against the students is injustice and smells of double standards,” additional General Secretary of National Conference Sheikh Mustafa Kamal said.
He appealed to the university to take back the students immediately in order to save their academic time.
Around 60 Kashmiri students at Swami Vivekananda Subharti University in Meerut were expelled for three days from the hostel after they allegedly supported Pakistan cricket team against India in the Asia Cup match between the two sides on Sunday last.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed called  on  India’s Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh seeking his intervention in the “serious situation”  caused by the expulsion of Kashmiri students from  a university in Uttar Pradesh and filing of sedition charges against them.
“Mufti told the PM that this arbitrary and unjustifiable action can make every Kashmiri especially the student community suspects across the country. The entire Kashmiri student community can become vulnerable and their sense of insecurity will increase. Cheering for any sports team is normal expression of sportsman sprit and it should not be criminalized,” according to a statement .
“The PM assured Mufti that he would intervene effectively and speak to the UP chief minister on the subject and ask him to sort out the matter so that students don’t suffer in any manner and their career is safeguarded,” the statement said.
Earlier the opposition  party demanded that sedition charge slapped against Kashmiri students in Meerut for allegedly cheering Pakistan team during a cricket match that India lost should be dropped and UP government and the university apologise to them.
“As reported in certain sections of media, the university authorities have admitted that only some among the 200 (Kashmiri) students were troublemakers. Yet they have dished out collective punishment to all by packing them off. This reflects a fascist mindset,” PDP chief spokesman Nayeem Akhtar told reporters here.
“VIPs like Prime Ministers or Presidents have in the past attended India-Pakistan matches and applauded the rival team’s performance. That time we project it as tolerance and friendship and for Kashmiri students, the same act becomes sedition,” he said.
Akhtar referred to praise lavished by former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on Indian captain M S Dhoni.
The PDP spokesman said the sedition charge against the students should be withdrawn and they be taken back in the university.