Three J&K students of an engineering college in Agra were arrested on Wednesday for allegedly committing “cyber terrorism” by updating their WhatsApp status to hail Pakistan’s victory against India in a T20 World Cup cricket match three days ago.
"Three engineering college students have been arrested after the complaint received against them on Tuesday," Agra City Superintendent of Police Vikas Kumar said.
The three students of the Raja Balwant Singh Management Technical Campus were arrested on Wednesday evening following an FIR lodged against them at the Jagdishpura police station in the morning, a police official said.
The FIR against them included, among others, Section 66F of the Information Technology Act dealing with the offence of cyber terrorism, punishable with life imprisonment on conviction. The other sections that FIR against the trio included are sections 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 505 (1)(B) (an act intended to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public or aimed at inducing a person to commit an offence against the state) of the Indian Penal Code.
The arrests were made on the same day as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directing state police to file sedition charges against those celebrating Pakistan’s victory over India in the recent T20 World Cup match. The chief minister made the remarks in an interview to a news publication on Wednesday.
The link to that interview was posted on the official Twitter handle of Adityanath's office, with a line in Hindi talking about invoking sedition law against those celebrating Pakistan's win.
— Yogi Adityanath Office (@myogioffice) October 28, 2021
The offences under the two sections are punishable with jail terms up to five and three years respectively on conviction. On Wednesday, various organisations, including right-wing outfits, protested at the Collectorate premises in Agra and demanded action against the students.
They also submitted a memorandum to officials concerned about this connection. According to faculty members of the college, members of right-wing outfits barged into the college campus on Tuesday and staged a protest against the college and its students.
Dr Pankaj Gupta, the institute's director of administration and finance, said they forcefully entered the campus at around 3.45 pm on Tuesday when classes were being held and they also tried to gain access to the students" hostels.
"Their act was inappropriate and unacceptable. They did not even try to contact the college management and when they were stopped from entering the hostel premises, they began raising slogans against the college," Gupta said.
"The college has suspended the three students. But they still raised objectionable slogans to defame the college," he said. In protest to the incidents inside the college, its management said it has decided to indefinitely shut all its educational institutions and demanded action against the groups responsible.
With inputs from PTI