Indian state threatens sedition charges for celebrations of Pakistan's T20 World Cup win

Published October 28, 2021
Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam celebrate after winning the match against India at the Dubai International Stadium on October 24. — Reuters
Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam celebrate after winning the match against India at the Dubai International Stadium on October 24. — Reuters

People in India's most populous state who praised arch rival Pakistan's victory in a recent cricket match could face sedition charges, authorities said on Thursday, a day after arresting three college students over jubilant social media posts.

Similar celebrations have roused the ire of Indian politicians in the past, as the nuclear-armed neighbours are at loggerheads over occupied Kashmir, which both claim in its entirety, although each controls only a part.

Pakistan resoundingly beat India at the Twenty20 World Cup on Sunday, for its first cricket win against its bigger neighbour in such a match, triggering celebrations at home and in occupied valley.

Read: India probes Kashmiri students for cheering Pakistan cricket win

“Those celebrating Pakistan's victory will face sedition,” the office of Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, said on Twitter, with an accompanying screenshot of a news report.

The offence, if proved, carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Adityanath's office had ordered state police to take action depending on the circumstances of each case, said state information official Navneet Sehgal, adding that police would decide on the charges based on their investigations.

Posts on social media hailing Sunday's victory by Pakistan were made by three Kashmiri students at a college in the state's city of Agra, according to a police complaint on Tuesday that was reviewed by Reuters.

The three were arrested late on Wednesday, said city police official Saurabh Singh, on charges of promoting enmity between different groups and causing public alarms.

Read: Schoolteacher fired from job in India for cheering Pakistan's victory in T20 World Cup match

In occupied Kashmir, where some residents chafe at Indian control, authorities said police had received complaints over celebrations at two medical colleges after Pakistan's victory.

Authorities said six people had been detained in adjoining Jammu, where social media posts showed more than two dozen people celebrating after India's loss.

“The investigation is going on,” said local official Anuradha Gupta.

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