Indian police have arrested several Muslims for allegedly celebrating Pakistan’s victory over India in the T20 World Cup cricket.
Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, said that three people may be charged with sedition, on top of the charges of cyberterrorism and “promoting enmity among groups,” after arrests on Wednesday.
Another leading BJP politician, federal cabinet minister Sidharth Nath Singh, told NDTV news channel that Uttar Pradesh police would take the strictest possible action against anyone for exulting in India’s defeat in last Sunday’s game in Dubai.
Three of those arrested are engineering students at Raja Balwant Singh College in Agra and are from Kashmir. They are also accused of posting messages on social media supporting Pakistan. The college has suspended them.
Three other youths were arrested in Bareilly and one in Lucknow.
Jammu and Kashmir police also arrested some students at two medical colleges in Srinagar for celebrating Pakistan’s win.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Shami, India’s only Muslim cricketer in the T20 team, was subjected to a vicious barrage of online abuse after India’s defeat.
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India captain Virat Kohli has hit back at the ”spineless trolls” who attacked Shami’s religion, saying targeting people for their faith is ”the most pathetic thing” to do.
”There is a good reason why we are playing on the field and not some bunch of spineless people on social media that have no courage to actually speak to any individual in person,” he said.
”….Mohammad Shami has won India number of matches in the last few years and has been our primary bowler with Jasprit Bumrah when it comes to making an impact in games in Test cricket.
”If people can overlook that… I honestly don’t even want to waste one minute of my life to give any attention to those people and neither does Shami and neither does anyone else in the team.”
The issue of some Indian Muslims cheering and clapping whenever Pakistan defeats India in a cricket match has been a bone of contention for decades. BJP supporters and Hindu nationalists attack such behaviour as disloyalty or treason.
Liberals reject this, saying Indians should be free to support whoever they wish in cricket or any other sphere of life, and accuse Hindu extremists of exaggerating accusations in an attempt to smear Muslims.
Last Sunday Pakistan thrashed India in a 10-wicket romp at Dubai International Stadium.
Put into bat, India could not really recover after Shaheen Afridi wrecked their top order.
With Pakistan captain Babar Azam and opening partner Mohammad Rizwan smashing an unbeaten half-century, the chase was a cakewalk for Pakistan who triumphed with 13 balls to spare.