India arrests villagers for cheering Pakistan cricketers

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The villagers were arrested in thr Burhanpur district of Madhya Pradesh state. — AFP

NEW DELHI: Indian police said Tuesday they have arrested 15 Muslim villagers and charged them with sedition — punishable by life in prison — for celebrating Pakistan’s victory over India’s cricketers in the Champions Trophy.

The villagers were arrested in thr Burhanpur district of Madhya Pradesh state on Monday after police received a complaint that they set off firecrackers and shouted slogans following Pakistan’s dramatic win on Sunday.

“We received a complaint from a local Hindu man who accused them of celebrating after India lost the match,” Burhanpur police chief Raja Ram Parihar told AFP.

The accused have also been charged with criminal conspiracy, the officer said, adding the celebrations continued for hours in the sensitive locality.

The village has a large Muslim population and a history of communal clashes between the two communities.

Passions run high over cricket in India — particularly when it comes to arch-rival Pakistan.

Cricket fans in both countries have been arrested in the past for supporting the rival teams or players.

Around 60 students from India were arrested on sedition charges after they were accused of celebrating Pakistan’s victory over India in 2014.

Last year a Pakistani man was arrested for waving an Indian flag after his idol Indian batsman Virat Kohli made a match-winning century.

The nuclear-armed have a history of animosity dating back to independence from Britain in 1947 and partition of the subcontinent. They have fought three wars.

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