Seven students, who were arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for allegedly raising objectionable slogans and celebrating the Indian cricket team's loss in the World Cup final, were Saturday granted bail by a court after police dropped charges under the stringent anti-terror law.
The students of the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) in central Kashmir's Ganderbal district were granted bail by the court of chief judicial magistrate (CJM) Ganderbal, the lawyer representing the students, Shafiq Ahmad Bhat, told PTI.
He said the students were released late on Saturday evening.
The lawyer said the UAPA charges against the students have been dropped.
"The police submitted its report in the CJM court wherein the UAPA charges were dropped," Bhat said.
The police said the UAPA charges were dropped after a 'considerate view was taken' following an undertaking by their parents.
"Under convincing undertaking by the parents of students that no harm will come to anyone else from their children, a considerate view was taken to continue the investigation in Indian Penal Code offences," Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, V K Birdi, told PTI.
The students were arrested after police launched an investigation into a complaint by a non-local student who alleged his college mates had harassed him and raised objectionable slogans after India lost the World Cup's final match to Australia.
The police had booked the students under Section 13 of UAPA, which deals with the inciting or advising of any unlawful activity and is punishable with seven years' jail.
The students were also slapped with IPC sections 505 and 506 which deal with public mischief and criminal intimidation, under which, if convicted, the jail term can go up to five years.
The booking of the students under the UAPA had evoked strong criticism from the political parties who had demanded dropping of the charges.
Meanwhile, People's Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti while welcoming the dropping of the charges, said 'finally good sense has prevailed'.
'Glad to know that UAPA charges against SKUAST students have been dropped. Finally good sense has prevailed & their future saved from jeopardy,' she said in a post on X.