J&K police arrests four cricketers for singing Pak national anthem

J&K police arrests four cricketers for singing Pak national anthem

Jammu and Kashmir police arrested four cricketers, after a video clip surfaced on social media on Sunday, showing players singing the national anthem of Pakistan ahead of a match in northern Bandipora district.

The cricket match between MCC Gondipora vs Dardpora Cricket Club was played on Saturday and the video clip of the event, which has gone viral on the Internet, has been reportedly filmed just some moments ahead of the match.  

In the video clip, players from both the teams are seen lined up before the start of the final match, with one team dressed in green jerseys and the other in white, for a local tournament, while Pakistan national anthem was played in the background.

Station House Officer Bandipora Gazanafar Ahmad while confirming the arrests said, "We have booked the teams under Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities Act with FIR number 4/2018."

Sources said the police was looking for the organizers and other players involved in the incident. While support to Pakistan during face-offs with India on the cricket field is common in Kashmir, playing a Pakistani national anthem ahead of local cricket matches has emerged as a new trend in last one year.

On May 22, police lodged a case against the organisers of a cricket tournament after a similar video clip surfaced on social media, showing players singing the national anthem of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) ahead of the match. In several instances, the posters of the slain and active militants were also displayed during the cricket and football matches.

Earlier, in April, a video had surfaced on social media showing a group of local cricketers wearing the green jersey, lining up for the Pakistani national anthem ahead of a cricket match in central Kashmir's Gandebral district.  

The video went viral on April 2, the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Chennai-Nashri tunnel. All the players were later detained for questioning and counseling by the police before they were released.

In February, a video clip of Pakistan's anthem sung by two Kashmiri musicians using traditional instruments went viral on social media in the Valley. To avoid the misuse of social media to stoke passions, the government had on April 26 last year ordered the suspension of 22 sites, including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, in the violence-hit Valley.

The ban was lifted after a month in May. Kashmir's tech-savvy young 70% of the population is under 35, they have turned to social media to express their anger as well as to mobilise demonstrations.

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