Two Indian students who were arrested on sedition charges late last month have been freed on bail by a court in Delhi.
Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, both PHD students of Jawaharlal Nehru University, were released on Friday on six-months interim bail.
Their release came two weeks after another JNU student, and president of the students’ union, Kanhaiya Kumar, was granted bail.
Kanhaiya, along with Anirban and Umar, was charged with sedition after the three were accused of organising a protest march in the left-leaning university at which allegedly anti-India slogans were shouted.
Kanhaiya earlier told Al Jazeera that the sedition law, which was drafted in the colonial era, was being used as a political tool by the government.
“Those who speak against them and their ideology are being branded as anti-nationals. Laws like sedition are not needed in a liberal democratic state. It is being misused.”
Addressing students after his release, Umar accused the government of targeting him.
“I did not project myself as a practising Muslim but I was treated like an Islamist terrorist,” he said in a speech carried by the NDTV website.
Other students welcomed their release at the prestigious university, which came under attack for allowing the rally where alleged slogans were shouted.
“Release of Umar and Anirban has been welcomed by JNU students and there’s a mood of festivity. It’s being celebrated as Holi before Holi [an Indian festival that will be observed next week],” Abhay Mishra, a PhD student, told Al Jazeera.
Mishra said that JNU students had been victimised by the state and the police.
“Their release has instilled a sense of joy in the campus and we will intensify the struggle in support of all political prisoners, including Professors SAR Geelani and Dr GN Saibaba,” he said.