'We just helped Hafiz Saeed sharpen his attack on India'
Security experts and Intelligence agencies say the decision of the Uttar Pradesh police to slap sedition charges against 67 Kashmiri students of a Meerut college was a stupid one. Vicky Nanjappa reports.
The sedition charges filed by the police against 67 Kashmiri students for celebrating Pakistan's victory over India in Sunday's Asia Cup cricket match has been described as a major blunder by many in the Intelligence Bureau.
Hafiz Saeed, founder of the Pakistan-based terror outfit Jamaat-ud-Dawah and the alleged mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, has now offered scholarships to the 67 Kashmiri students who were suspended from the Swami Vivekanand Subharti University for cheering the Pakistan cricket team.
“We have just played into the hands of these terrorists in Pakistan,” an IB officer said.
“There are better ways of handling a situation, especially when there is an attempt being made to instill a pro-India sentiment among the people of Kashmir,” the officer added.
V Balachandran, former Special Secretary, Research and Analysis Wing described the police action as foolish.
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Image: Hafiz Saeed arrives for a rally in Peshawar, Pakistan.
Photographs: Fayaz Aziz/Reuters
'Our own people have provoked Pakistan'
A charge of sedition, which is part of the colonial legacy, should not have been used in this case. It reminds me of an incident in Ahmedabad where the police commissioner slapped sedition charges against a journalist for calling him insufficient. It was later quashed by the high court," Balachandran said.
Our own people have provoked Pakistan and created an issue when there was none, he told rediff.com.
“This is no way to handle a situation. A senior police officer should have been consulted before such a decision was taken. I recall a group of people cheering the Indian cricket team in Pakistan. There was no sedition charge slapped against them. Why should our police press this charge?”
Balachandran feels that the only way to stop jihadis is to have people to people connection, and that students play an important part in it.
“These students should have been warned or advised. We just played into the hands of Hafiz Saeed,” Balachandran reiterated.
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Photographs: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
UP administration shifting blame on to BJP workers?
Pakistan’s official reaction to the incident was typical.
Tanseem Aslam, spokesperson in the Pakistan foreign office, at a press briefing asked the Kashmiri students to come to Pakistan and pursue their studies. ‘Our institutions and hearts are open to them,’ she said. This offer from Pakistan has only added to the troubles of the intelligence agencies.
An officer said that they do not want any student from Kashmir going to Pakistan to study and have taken measures to ensure they remain in India and pursue their education.
The police had slapped charges of sedition under Section 124 (A) and Section 153 (A) that pertain to promoting enmity between two religions.
There is a blame game on in Uttar Pradesh where the sedition charge was slapped. The UP government had to intervene and withdraw the charges against the Kashmiri students following the uproar. The UP Police, however, say they will investigate the charge pertaining to promoting enmity between religions.
So, why were 67 students suspended when only six were accused of cheering the Pakistan team?
The UP administration has tried to shift the blame on some Bharatiya Janata Party workers for allegedly pressurising the police to file a case.
Image: The UP Police have said they will investigate the charge pertaining to promoting enmity between religions.