Indian police have arrested seven Muslim youths following Pakistan’s dramatic victory over India in the T20 World Cup on Sunday. Both sides opened their tournament campaigns with the game at the Dubai International Stadium, but it was emphatically one-sided as Babar Azam’s team romped to a 10-wicket win.
India were reduced to 151-7, captain Virat Kohli top scoring with 57, before Pakistan easily knocked off their target with all their wickets, plus 2.1 overs, in hand.
Mohammad Rizwan cracked 79 not out in just 55 balls while opening partner Azam was also destructive, cracking 68 not out in 55 deliveries as the pair hammered 17 boundaries between them.
Any contest between the two giant cricket nations tends to spark wild emotions among fans, and the delight of the Pakistani players and supporters was all too evident as they lauded a perfect start to their World Cup.
On Wednesday though, Indian police arrested the seven Muslim youths for allegedly celebrating Pakistan’s triumph, according to reports in The Guardian.
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Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, revealed on Twitter that three of the individuals could be charged with sedition, as well as charges of cyberterrorism and “promoting enmity among groups” that officers accused them of after the arrests on Wednesday.
Adityanath is a senior Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) figure and federal cabinet minister Sidharth Nath Singh, told NDTV news channel that Uttar Pradesh police would take strict against anyone for exulting in India’s defeat.
Three of the youths, Arsheed Yousuf, Inayat Altaf Sheikh and Showkat Ahmed Ganai, are from Kashmir and currently studying engineering at Raja Balwant Singh College in Agra. They are also accused of posting messages on social media supporting ‘The Shaheens’ and have been suspended indefinitely by their college.
The other three youths were arrested in Bareilly and one in Lucknow, while students at two medical colleges in Srinagar were also booked by police for celebrating the result.
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Indian Muslims celebrating Pakistan wins over India has long been a contentious issue with BJP members and supporters, who along with Hindu nationalists, class such actions as disloyalty or treason.
On the contrary, Liberals argue Indian people should be free to support whoever they choose in cricket, and have long accused Hindu extremists of exaggerating accusations.
There was at least, no hint of conflict on the field, with India skipper Kohli offering dignified congratulations to both Rizwan and Azam after the pair had sealed Pakistan’s victory.
His gesture was posted on Instagram by the Pakistan Cricket Board account, along with the line “Spirit of Cricket!”
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