Seriously?: India arrests Muslims for cheering Pakistan cricket team

Supporters of India and Pakistan ahead of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan at Dubai International Stadium
Pakistan defeated India by 10 wickets in a T20 World Cup game on Sunday

Police in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh have arrested three Kashmiri students for allegedly celebrating Pakistan’s win over India in Sunday’s T20 World Cup cricket game.

Police said they shouted “anti-India and pro-Pakistan” slogans during the match and were charged with “promoting enmity and cyber terrorism”.

The arrests in the city of Agra are the latest in the crackdown against Muslims for allegedly cheering Pakistani team.

Pakistan defeated India by 10 wickets.

Relations between the South Asian neighbours have always been frosty and a cricket match often worsens these tensions.

Critics say after India lost the match, many Indians also forgot their sportsmanship, looking for scapegoats to blame.

Soon after the game ended, Mohammed Shami, the only Muslim in the Indian cricket team, was viciously trolled and abused online. Social media users accused him of deliberately giving runs to the Pakistani team, while others labelled him a traitor.

The three Kashmiri students in Agra were suspended on Monday by their college for allegedly posting WhatsApp status in praise of Pakistani cricketers. Police said they were arrested on Wednesday after a complaint by some members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“These people are trying to stir tension, which might spoil the atmosphere of the country,” news website Quint reported, quoting the police complaint against them. Since Sunday, several other Muslims have got into trouble for cheering the Pakistani cricket team.

Mohammed Shami
Indian cricketer Mohammed Shami faced widespread abuse and trolling after the team lost to Pakistan

In the desert state of Rajasthan, a school teacher lost her job for sharing a celebratory post on WhatsApp following Pakistan’s victory. She was also arrested on Wednesday, Press Trust of India reported. Local media in the northern state of Punjab reported attacks on Kashmiri students for celebrating Pakistan’s victory.

And police in Indian-administered Kashmir charged some students and staff at two medical colleges under a draconian anti-terror law for shouting pro-Pakistan slogans during the match. After the game, hundreds of Kashmiris poured out into the streets in celebration and chanted “Long live Pakistan” in the Himalayan region, which has seen a decades-long armed insurgency against Delhi, according to Associated Press.

Both India and Pakistan claim the territory in its entirety but control only parts of the region. The nuclear-armed neighbours have gone to war twice over it.

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