India probes Kashmir students for cheering Pakistan cricket win
SRINAGAR, OCT 27: Police have launched an investigation after several hundred students in Indian-administered Kashmir celebrated India's recent defeat to Pakistan in the cricket World Cup, officials said Wednesday.
Anti-India sentiment is widespread and deep in the Muslim-majority territory where an armed rebellion has raged for decades by Kashmiris wanting independence or to be part of Pakistan.
Around 300 students in two top Srinagar medical colleges gathered in two hostels watching the match on Sunday and burst into celebrations when Pakistan crushed India in the high-octane contest in Dubai.
Videos of the students shouting "Long live Pakistan" went viral. Footage also showed thousands of people in the city and several other towns cheering on the streets and setting off firecrackers in support of Pakistan, which like India also claims divided Kashmir in full.
On Tuesday, police opened two investigations under the Unlawful Prevention Activities Act (UAPA) and raided one of the hostels, but no one was detained, a police officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.
"The videos are being closely scrutinised to identify cheerleaders who raised pro-Pakistan and anti-Indian slogans at the end of the match and indulged in anti-national activities," the officer said.
India has used the vaguely-worded UAPA legislation against thousands of Kashmiri residents, journalists and dissidents, according to activists.
It allows people to be held for six months -- often rolled over -- without being charged and bail is virtually impossible.
In a separate similar incident, police detained six residents in the Jammu region of the territory for questioning after a video showing them supporting Pakistan's cricket team emerged on social media.
"Why is loyalty to the Indian cricket team being demanded from us? Is it a crime to cheer the victory of your favourite side? Many of us are petrified for being charged under terrorism laws or even being arrested or dismissed from college," a medical student told AFP, while declining to be named. -AFP