15 Arrested For Cheering For Pak In Champions Trophy Final, Charged With Sedition

The arrests were made in a Madhya Pradesh village on charges of celebrating Pakistan's victory in the Champions Trophy by bursting crackers and raising pro-Pakistan and anti-India slogans.

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15 Arrested For Cheering For Pak In Champions Trophy Final, Charged With Sedition

Pakistan had defeated India by 180 runs in the Champions Trophy final in London.

BHOPAL: 

Highlights

  1. 15 villagers in Madhya Pradesh charged with sedition, sent to jail
  2. Police said they had burst firecrackers after India's loss to Pakistan
  3. In 2014, 60 Kashmiri students had faced similar charges
For celebrating Pakistan's victory over the Indian team in the Champions Trophy, 15 villagers have been arrested by the Madhya Pradesh police that accused them sedition, punishable by life in prison. The 15 villagers were produced before a court on Tuesday that sent them to jail for 14 days.

The police said the arrests were made in Burhanpur district's Mohad village because the villagers, all from a particular community set off firecrackers following Pakistan's win on Sunday. Pakistan had beaten India by 180 runs to lift the Champions Trophy in London on Sunday.

"There was a complaint that they celebrated Pakistan's victory by bursting crackers and raising pro-Pakistan and anti-India slogans," Sanjay Pathak, the Shahpur police station in-charge said. He said the case was registered on a complaint from a resident, Subhash.

This is not the first time that cricket fans have been arrested in India and Pakistan for supporting the rival teams or players.

In 2014, about 60 Kashmiri college students watching an India-Pakistan match in the hostel of an Uttar Pradesh college were charged with sedition for cheering the Pakistani team after India lost the Asia Cup match. The police later withdrew the sedition charge but the students still faced accusations of promoting enmity between two groups.

A Pakistani man was arrested in 2016 for waving an Indian flag after his idol Indian batsman Virat Kohli made a match-winning century.

In Burhanpur, police officer Sanjay Pathak said the police hadn't been able to lay their hands on a video recording of the anti-India slogans and other celebrations. "People are not coming forward at this stage but I think someone would have made a video," he said.

But Mr Pathak suggested that penal action wasn't all that the 15 villagers would face. He said there was an executive order that allows the administration to withdraw facilities to people charged with sedition. Action is being taken on this front too, he said, without explaining.

Sedition has been a controversial provision in the penal code. In March this year, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju told NDTV that the sedition law needed to be fixed because it was far too vague.

In 1962, the Supreme Court had tried to check its misuse by ruling that merely speaking against the country did not amount to sedition and it had to be backed by some action. But in another, Mr Rijiju added, "merely someone spoke against Jawaharlal Nehru government, not against the country, was confirmed as sedition".

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