Published: 11th June 2020
After 100 days in jail, Kashmir students who sang Pakistan Zindabad get bail, courtesy this Bengaluru advocate's perseverance
The three Kashmiri students from KLE Institute of Technology in Hubballi had released a video on social media singing Sahir Ali Bagga's Pakistan Zindabad song
After spending more than three months in Hindalga Jail, the three Kashmiri students who raised pro-Pakistan slogans were released on bail. However, they will not be allowed to go back to Kashmir until the investigation is completed by the police.
If they have anyone to thank for this, it is B T Venkatesh, the Advocate in Bengaluru High Court who took up this case voluntarily - though the Hubballi Bar Association was dead set against them getting representation. He says, "I am happy that the three Kashmiri students Basit Aashiq Sofi, Talib Majeed and Aamir Mohi Uddin Wani are finally out on bail. They were in jail for more than 90 days and have gone through a lot. We were able to get them out because the Hubballi police failed to file a chargesheet against them within 90 days. They filed it after 109 days and we were easily able to get them out."
While the delay in filing the charges heart may be attributed to the COVID pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, the lawyer feels differently, "On what basis, will they file the chargesheet when the three students have not committed any crime. The police have confiscated their phones as part of their investigation."
Venkatesh dedicated this success to the perseverance of the team of lawyers who did not give up until they got these students out. He added, "Since the students' education is a matter of concern, we will also request the Education department to admit them back in the college. If not the same KLE Institute of Technology then, the students can be allowed to study the same course in some other college. Finally, their parents are happy as the children are out of jail and they can look forward to going back to Kashmir in the near future."
What happened so far?
In mid-February, a video of three Kashmiri students purportedly singing Pakistan Zindabad song went viral. Basit Aashiq Sofi, Talib Majeed of Krandigam and Aamir Mohi Uddin Wani were studying Civil Engineering in KLE Institute of Technology in Hubballi. As soon as Principal Dr BS Anami got wind of this video, he registered an FIR in the Gokul Road Police Station. These three students were arrested and were placed under judicial custody for more than 15 days.
The Hubballi Bar Association had refused to argue in favour of students despite the notice from the High Court of Karnataka. Their thoughts were loud and clear that they would not support such 'anti-nationals'. Hence, B T Venkatesh, a lawyer from Bengaluru had come to the rescue of these students and argue on their behalf. Since the students had got admissions under the Pradhan Mantri Special Scholarship Scheme for Jammu and Kashmir students, the AICTE has also cut off all financial aid given to them. Their stipend and hostel charges were also stopped. And the college was not sure of admitting them back as the central government bodies decide the same. On March 9, the Fifth Additional District and Sessions Court in Hubballi rejected the bail plea and they were sent to the Hindalga Central Jail in Belagavi.