In India, applauding the victory of the Pakistani cricket team is “an act of sedition”

NEW DELHI LETTER

The image was undoubtedly too good. She was captured on October 24 on the lawn of a stadium in Dubai where a T20 Cricket World Cup was being played (matches are played in 20 sets instead of 50 at a World Cup). classic): that of two players, belonging to two opposing teams, coming from two enemy countries, hugging each other at the end of the match. India, however favorites, had just lost clearly to their biggest rival, Pakistan, when Indian captain, Virat Kohli, embraced Pakistani player Mohammad Rizwan, author of six decisive blows.

It was not the final of the event – the competition will end on November 14 – but, for Islamabad and New Delhi, it was much more. Any meeting has the taste of a definitive fight for the two countries, which formed only one in the empire of the Indies until 1947. The two neighbors hate each other and have fought three wars since independence. Their dispute over Kashmir has never ended.

The hours which followed the match in Dubai remind us that between the two nuclear powers, cricket is more a confrontation than a sport, in particular since the arrival of the nationalists in power in India, in 2014. A few minutes after the defeat , the only Muslim player among the eleven members of the Indian team, Mohammad Shami, received a flurry of abuse on social media. He was quickly named as the one responsible for the defeat, referred to as “Traitor” just good at “Go to Pakistan”.

BJP official demands that students be beaten and ‘skinned alive’ for celebrating Pakistan’s victory

In several states, the police have launched a hunt for suspected Pakistan supporters. In Srinagar, the main city of Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority region, a group of medical students was arrested under the draconian Prevention of Illegal Activities Act, an anti-terrorism law, for celebrating victory of the Pakistani team. Vikram Randhawa, an official of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the nationalist formation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even suggested that the students be beaten and “Flayed alive”, that their diplomas be canceled, and their citizenship withdrawn.

In Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, the head of government, a fundamentalist Hindu monk known for his anti-Muslim policies, announced on Twitter that “Those who celebrate the victory of Pakistan will have to answer with sedition”, an offense punishable by life imprisonment. The man is on an election campaign. Three Muslim students, accused of posting messages in favor of Pakistan on social networks, have already been arrested by the police and suspended from their school.

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In India, applauding the victory of the Pakistani cricket team is “an act of sedition”

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