The arrested crickets fans “should be released immediately”, Amnesty International
Pakistan celebrating their biggest victory against their arch-rival, while twenty Indian men are facing lengthy jail sentences allegedly for celebrating Pakistan’s shock victory over India in the Champions Trophy final.
The sports contest between the two neighboring teams met with nail-biting, but final match of the Champions Trophy in London between arch-rival sparking celebrations are exceptional and has created tension in India.
According to the central Indian police, they have arrested at least twenty people on charges of sedition in Madhya Pradesh for allegedly shouting slogans and lighting firecrackers to celebrate Pakistan’s victory.
Police said the five people of Bikaner were first arrested on lesser charges after residents of the Subhashpura area accused a group of Muslims youth of beating drums and shouting “Pakistan Zindabad” slogans to celebrate the neighbouring country’s shock victory on Sunday. They were arrested and remanded in judicial custody.
In the southern Indian state of Karnataka, most of the arrested who allegedly chanted “Pakistan Zindabad’ involved students, laborers and shopkeepers, all Muslims ages 20 to 35, the local police said.
Amnesty International giving a strong reaction to the incident said that, the cricket fans supported Pakistan’s cricket team, “should be released immediately”.
“These arrests are patently absurd, and the 20 men should be released immediately,” said Amnesty International’s India Director, Asmita Basu.
“Even if the arrested men had supported Pakistan, as the police claim, that is not a crime. Supporting a sporting team is a matter of individual choice, and arresting someone for cheering a rival team clearly violates their right to freedom of expression.”
Sedition is among India’s most serious charges. If convicted, the men could be sentenced up to 14 years in prison. A trial date has yet to be set.
The sporting rivalry between the two neighboring countries started from 1952, just five years after independence, when India and Pakistan played their first test series.
In 2014, a group of 67 college students from Kashmir were charged with sedation while watching an India-Pakistan clash at a campus hostel in Uttar Pradesh, though the charges were eventually dropped.