Bengaluru: Three engineering students from Jammu and Kashmir studying at a private college in Hubli district of Karnataka were arrested on Saturday on charges of sedition for uploading a ‘pro-Pakistan’ video on a messaging app on Friday.
Police said, according to preliminary information, the students are from Shopian in Kashmir and action has been taken on the basis of a complaint from the college management.
"We received information that three students hailing from Kashmir studying at the KLE Institute of Technology had raised slogans supporting Pakistan. They had made a video about it which has gone viral. Immediately our team headed by Inspector Gokul Road station went to the spot and arrested them," Hubli-Dharwad Police Commissioner R Dileep said.
A right-wing activist, who claimed allegiance to Bajrang Dal, tried to manhandle one of the students when they were being produced in the court. However, police officers promptly handled the situation.
The FIR has been lodged under IPC sections relating to sedition and affecting communal harmony, Dileep said.
"We are investigating, and whatever comes out as per evidence, law and facts, we will take further action. We will look into their background, whether anyone has tried to mislead them. We have confiscated their mobiles and laptops," the officer said, adding that the arrest should not be seen as action against any particular community or region.
According to officers, the selfie video of the three has gone viral as they posted it on Whatsapp. In the video one of them can be purportedly seen initially uttering something with background music on, after which they chant 'Azadi' one after the other. Then
joining chorus to the music that is playing, they purportedly say "Pakistan Zindabad."
The students, who identified themselves as Talib, Aamir and Bashir, reportedly uploaded the video as a mark of protest in the backdrop of commemorative events held to mark the anniversary of the suicide attack on CRPF jawans in Pulwama.
The music they played is said to be Pakistani military's media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) song, which police said needs to be ascertained. The video seems to have been recorded at the college hostel, where the students were put up.
College principal Basavaraj Anami said the college has given complaint to the police and the students will be suspended.
The students were admitted under central quota and two are doing their first year civil engineering, while the other is a third year student in the same stream, he said. According to him, the three had made the video and posted it on WhatsApp.
"It came to our notice in the morning, following which I called the students immediately to my office, and informed police," the principal told reporters.
"In the video, they have purportedly shouted pro-Pakistan slogans allegedly in the backdrop of the Pulwama attack anniversary yesterday," he added.
Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, who hails from the district, described the act unfortunate and demanded strict action against those involved.(With inputs from PTI)