Indian state threatens sedition charges for celebrations of Pakistan cricket win

LUCKNOW, India – People in India’s most populous state who praise arch-rival Pakistan victory in a recent cricket match could face sedition charges, authorities said Thursday, the day after three college students were arrested for cheering social -Media contributions.

Similar celebrations have piqued the ire of Indian politicians in the past as their neighbors armed with nuclear weapons fight over the Himalayan Kashmir territory, both of which they claim in full even though each controls only part of it.

Pakistan beat India in Sunday’s Twenty20 World Cup for its first ever cricket win against its bigger neighbor in such a game, sparking celebrations at home and in Muslim-majority Kashmir.

“Those celebrating Pakistan’s victory will face turmoil,” said the office of Yogi Adityanath, prime minister of the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, on Twitter, with an accompanying screenshot of a news report.

If proven, the offense will be punished with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Shaheen Afridi from Pakistan and Virat Kohli from India shake hands after the men’s T20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan in Dubai on Sunday. Michael Steele / ICC via Getty Images

The Adityanath office has directed state police to take action based on the circumstances of the case, state intelligence officer Navneet Sehgal said, adding that the police will decide the charges based on their investigation.

Social media posts cheering Pakistan’s victory on Sunday were posted by three Kashmiri students at a college in the city of Agra, state, according to a police complaint on Tuesday checked by Reuters.

The three were arrested late Wednesday, city police officer Saurabh Singh said on charges of promoting hostility between various groups and raising public alarms.

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In the troubled Kashmir Valley, where some residents are rubbing against Indian control, authorities said the police had received complaints about the celebrations at two medical colleges following Pakistan’s victory.

Authorities said six people were detained in adjacent Jammu, where social media posts showed more than two dozen people celebrating after the loss of India.

“The investigation is ongoing,” said local officer Anuradha Gupta.

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