Several bar associations in Agra have decided categorically to refrain from providing legal aid to the three Kashmiri students in the College of Engineering accused of sedition.

The students were booked under colonial era law for allegedly posting a WhatsApp status praising the Pakistani players after the team beat India in a T20 cricket match on October 24.

“We will not provide any legal assistance to those who engage in anti-patriotism or anti-social activity,” Nitin Verma, president of the Young Lawyers Association, Agra, told PTI.

“It will send a message to the country that Agra’s lawyers have decided not to provide legal assistance to anyone involved in anti-patriotic activity,” he said.

Verma argued that freedom of expression did not permit participation in “anti-national” activities and that he condemned the students’ praise of the Pakistan cricket team.

“We will also oppose any attorney who agrees to provide legal aid to these students when it comes to Agra,” he added.

Sunil Sharma, president of the Agra Advocates Association, echoed the sentiment.

“No organization has the right to engage in anti-India activity. The lawyers’ decision not to provide legal aid will send a message to everyone in the country that no one should help those involved in anti-national activity,” Sharma said.

Besides these two, Jan Bad Bar Association, Adhivakta Sehyog Samiti, and other similar bodies have issued similar dictates against the three Kashmiri students.

Nasir Khohami, the spokesperson for the Jammu and Kashmir Students’ Association, said the authority will provide legal aid to the students.

“It is true that the Agra Bar Associations refused to provide assistance to the Kashmiri students and said they would not file the case.

“But the J&K Student Association decided to support them and extend a helping hand to them with regard to legal support,” he said.

“We now have a lawyer through our team in Delhi and friends there. Advocate Madhuvan Dutt Chaturvedi will defend the students on behalf of the association,” he added.

Khohami also expressed his concern that the strife would destroy the jobs of these students.

On Thursday, as the students were coming out of the court, a few right-wing activists raised anti-Pakistan slogans in the courthouse and chased after the students.

Agra police escorted the students to the police van.

(with PTI input)

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