The three students were arrested on charges of sedition after a video of them allegedly speaking in favour of Pakistan was shared widely.

Bengaluru lawyers challenge Hubballi Bar Assocs refusal to represent Kashmiri students
news Sedition Wednesday, February 19, 2020 - 09:36

A petition was filed in the Karnataka High Court by advocates from Bengaluru led by BT Venkatesh challenging the resolution passed by the Hubballi Bar Association barring its members from appearing for three Kashmiri students charged with sedition.

The petition was filed by senior advocate BT Venkatesh and will be taken up for hearing on Thursday. It seeks to quash the resolution passed by the Hubballi Bar Association and also asks for action to be taken against the attack on the three Kashmiri students within the court premises. 

The petitioner also sought police protection for advocates appearing in the Hubballi court to represent the trio. 

A bench headed by Chief Justice Abhay Oka asked the petitioners to file an affidavit in court stating the names of advocates who would file vakalath for the accused before the trial court. All the advocates (petitioners) including BT Venkatesh filed their personal affidavits assenting to appear for the accused. 

Three Kashmiri students - Talib Majeed, Basit Asif Sofi and Amir Mohiuddin Wahi  - studying in KLE Institute of Technology in Hubballi were arrested after a video of them allegedly speaking in favour of Pakistan was shared widely. The video showed the three of them shouting "Azaadi", "Pakistan" and "Zindabad" while a song played in the background. The song was purportedly used by the Pakistan military's media wing. 

Right-wing activists from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Bajrang Dal staged a protest against the students and demanded their arrest on Monday. The trio, who were arrested last week, were released temporarily on Sunday after the execution of a personal bond under section 169 of the CrPC (Release of accused when evidence deficient). 

However, the trio were re-arrested by the police and remanded to judicial custody till March 2. They were assaulted by right-wing activists  when they were being taken out of the court. 

The Hubballi Bar Association passed a resolution to not represent the trio booked for sedition. The association claimed that their actions were 'anti-national'.

The Bar Association's move was similar to what the Mysuru Bar Association had done in January when it resolved to 'not represent or provide legal services' to Nalini Balakumar, an alumnus of Mysuru University. She was booked for sedition for holding a 'Free Kashmir' placard at an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protest.  

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