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Sports

Indian state threatens sedition charges for celebration of Pakistan's victory

  • The offence, if proved, carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment
Published October 28, 2021
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LUCKNOW: People in India's most populous state who praise arch-rival Pakistan's victory in a recent cricket match could face sedition charges, authorities said on Thursday, a day after arresting three college students over jubilant social media posts.

Similar celebrations have roused the ire of Indian politicians in the past with the situation getting worse after Sunday's match where Pakistan resoundingly beat India at the Twenty20 World Cup, for its first cricket win in a World Cup event. The victory triggered celebrations in Pakistan, and in Muslim-majority Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

India's Mohammed Shami 'horribly abused' online after defeat to Pakistan

"Those celebrating Pakistan's victory will face sedition," the office of Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, said on Twitter, with an accompanying screenshot of a news report.

The offence, if proved, carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Adityanath's office had ordered state police to take action depending on the circumstances of each case, said state information official Navneet Sehgal, adding that police would decide on the charges based on their investigations.

Posts on social media hailing Sunday's victory by Pakistan were made by three students from IIOJK at a college in the state's city of Agra, according to a police complaint on Tuesday that was reviewed by Reuters.

Pakistan look to end losing streak against India in T20 World Cup blockbuster

The three were arrested late on Wednesday, said city police official Saurabh Singh, on charges of promoting enmity between different groups and causing public alarms.

In IIOJK, authorities said police had received complaints over celebrations at two medical colleges after Pakistan's victory.

Forget the past in India match, Babar tells Pakistan team

Authorities said six people had been detained in adjoining Occupied Jammu, where social media posts showed more than two dozen people celebrating after India's loss.

"The investigation is going on," said local official Anuradha Gupta.

Police arrest students

Earlier, police in Uttar Pradesh arrested three Kashmiri students for celebrating the victory over India.

Police claim that the students shouted "anti-India and pro-Pakistan" slogans during the match.

The arrests were the latest in the ongoing crackdown against Muslims across India for allegedly celebrating Pakistan’s win, which many far-right Hindu groups in India describe as "terrorism".

A senior BJP politician, Sidharth Nath Singh, told NDTV news channel that Uttar Pradesh police would take the severest possible action against anyone celebrating Pakistan’s win.

In a related development, a school teacher in India’s Rajasthan state lost her job for sharing a WhatsApp post celebrating Pakistan's victory. She was arrested by police on Wednesday.

There have been other reports of a crackdown against people cheering Pakistan's win, but the targeting of Muslims in India is not only limited to spectators.

Mohammed Shami, the only Muslim in India's current cricket team, was accused of deliberately leaking runs in the game on Sunday.

Hundreds of messages were left on Shami's Instagram account saying he was a “traitor” and should not be part of India's team.

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