Asia - Pacific

Kashmiris held for wearing Pakistani cricket uniforms

Video showing Kashmiri boys wearing Pakistani cricket team uniforms, paying salute to Pakistani national anthem goes viral

Ekip   | 05.04.2017
Kashmiris held for wearing Pakistani cricket uniforms


By Zahid Rafiq

SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir

Police detained a group of Kashmiri boys on Wednesday afternoon for playing cricket in Pakistani national team’s green uniforms at a local playground in Jammu and Kashmir, according to Indian media.

A viral video of the match played in the Wayil cricket ground on Sunday shows 11 boys in green jerseys paying tribute to the Pakistani anthem with their hands on their chests, presumably before they played against their rival team dressed in white jerseys.

A senior police official confirmed a group of boys had been picked up, without specifying the exact charges against them or the exact number of people held.

“The boys are in the police station for some questioning,” Deputy Inspector General for central Kashmir, Ghulam Hassan Bhat, told the Indian newspaper Hindustan Times.

The local population ridiculed the arrest of the boys from Ganderbal district, saying thousands of people play cricket wearing green uniforms every Sunday in Kashmir.

“If they start arresting Kashmiris for wearing green cricket uniforms, they will have to arrest thousands of people every Sunday.

“It is a truth that Kashmiris support the Pakistani cricket team. India only exposes its weakness by such arrests,” Mushtaq Ahmad Sofi, a cricket player in Srinagar, told Anadolu Agency.

"I have three different Pakistani jerseys at home. I have been wearing them for years," Sofi added.

Cricket is a politically-charged sport in South Asia but in the disputed Kashmir region under Indian control, it has also become a means of political expression with an overwhelming number of Kashmiris celebrating the victories of Pakistani team, while wishing for the Indian national team's defeat.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

The two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir.

Kashmiri resistance groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan. More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict since 1989.

India maintains more than half a million troops in the disputed region.

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