Kashmiris face terror charges for cheering India’s cricket loss to Pakistan

Free Kashmir: Police said some students and staff at the colleges had shouted pro-Pakistan slogans during the match on Sunday night, calling it “anti-national” activity, an “insult to the national sentiment during the cricket match.”


Police in the Indian-administered Kashmir are invoking an anti-terror law to investigate students and staff at two government-run colleges in the disputed Himalayan region for celebrating Pakistan’s victory over India in a recent cricket match.

On Tuesday, a senior Indian police official said that two cases under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) had been filed against an unknown number of students for causing “insult to the national sentiment during the cricket match.”

Police said some students and staff at the colleges had shouted pro-Pakistan slogans during the match on Sunday night, calling it “anti-national” activity.

Videos of their celebration outside their residential hostels in the main city of Srinagar went viral on social media.

No student has been named in a preliminary report filed by police and no arrests have been made so far.

Ravinder Raina, the president of the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) based in the Muslim-majority region, said all those who had cheered for “enemy country” Pakistan would be imprisoned soon. “Those people who celebrated Pakistanis’ win in Kashmir or any other place, the case has been registered. These people will be identified and they will be behind bars soon.”

Pakistan thrashed arch-rival India with a 10-wicket victory in the cricket match held in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday night. As soon as the match ended, there were celebrations in the disputed Himalayan region. It was Pakistan’s first-ever win against India in a cricket world cup.

Over a dozen Kashmiri students were assaulted by a mob in at least two colleges in Punjab for celebrating Pakistan’s victory against India. The students alleged they were watching the match in their rooms when people carrying sticks attacked them, seriously wounding some.

Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Kashmir, with Kashmiri residents publicly declaring their support for Pakistan.

India-Pakistan cricket matches evoke strong reactions, mainly in the valley. Cricket matches also often worsen the tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

During the 2014 Asia Cup tournament, nearly five dozen Kashmiri students were suspended by a college in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh after they celebrated Pakistan’s win over India. The charges against them were later dropped.

The latest developments come as tensions are running high across the region. India tightened restrictions on movement in Kashmir to contain protests after the death of a top independence leader last month.

The government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi revoked the self-autonomy of Indian-controlled Kashmir in 2019, in a move described by Pakistan as illegal. Since then, India has imposed more internet shutdowns and other restrictions in the Muslim-majority region.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their partition in 1947, with both countries claiming the region in full. They have fought four wars since then, three of them over Kashmir.

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