Several young cricketers in Jammu and Kashmir, purportedly from a government school, were detained by the state police on Thursday, April 6, after a video — showing them wearing green jersey and singing the Pakistani national anthem — went viral on social media platforms on Wednesday.
The video is believed to have been shot on April 2, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in J&K to inaugurate the bidirectional Chenani-Nashri tunnel — the longest of its kind in Asia. It may be noted that separatists had called for a strike in the Valley that day.
India and Pakistan have always been arch-rivals — whether it comes to politics or cricket. Earlier, there were instances of Kashmiri students being beaten up because they had put up Pakistani flags and supported Pakistan in a cricket match.
However, the recent incident — believed to have taken place in the Ganderbal district of J&K — is being seen as a bigger transgression because not only were the cricketers of one team wearing jerseys resembling those of the Pakistan cricket team, but also because they sang the national anthem of Pakistan.
The cricketers were reportedly detained by the police on Thursday morning, after the video created quite a furore. Local reports said some of the youngsters were being counselled. Meanwhile, local residents gathered around the police station where the boys were kept, and demanded their release.
What will be interesting to see is what happens to the organisers of the event. If indeed a government school organised the match, they can expect serious action. After all, the organisers can be clearly heard announcing in the video that the Pakistan national anthem would be played.
Watch the video here:
For the first time students in some of Kashmir's govt schools have begun to start cricket matches with Pak national anthem in broad daylight pic.twitter.com/swMp1rbTVh— Ahmed Ali Fayyaz (@ahmedalifayyaz) April 4, 2017