Police in northern India’s Uttar Pradesh state arrested three Kashmiri students on charges of celebrating Pakistan’s victory over India in Sunday’s T20 World Cup cricket match.
Police said they shouted “anti-India and pro-Pakistan” slogans during the match and were accused of “promoting enmity and cyber terrorism”.
The arrests in the city of Agra are the latest in the repression against Muslims for allegedly cheering on the Pakistani team.
Pakistan defeated India by 10 wickets.
Relations between South Asian neighbors have always been icy, and a cricket match often exacerbates these tensions.
Critics say that after India lost the game, many Indians also forgot their sportsmanship, looking for scapegoats to blame.
Shortly after the match ended, Mohammed Shami, the only Muslim on the Indian cricket team, was brutally trolled and abused online. Social media users accused him of deliberately offering rides to the Pakistani team, while others have labeled him a traitor.
The three Kashmiri students in Agra were suspended from their college on Monday on charges of posting WhatsApp status in praise of Pakistani cricketers. Police said they were arrested Wednesday after a report by members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“These people are trying to increase the tension, which could ruin the atmosphere in the country,” news site Quint reported, citing the police complaint against them.
Since Sunday, many other Muslims have gotten into trouble for cheering on the Pakistani cricket team.
In the desert state of Rajasthan, a school teacher lost her job after sharing a celebratory post on WhatsApp following the victory of Pakistan. She was also arrested on Wednesday, the 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 have accused some students and staff from two medical schools under a draconian anti-terrorism law for shouting pro-Pakistan slogans during the match.
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After the game, hundreds of Kashmiris poured into the streets in celebration and sang “Long live Pakistan” in the Himalayan region, which saw a decade-long armed insurrection against Delhi, according to the Associated Press.
Both India and Pakistan claim territory in its entirety but only control parts of the region. Nuclear-armed neighbors went to war twice over this.
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