Indian police arrest 15 Muslim men for celebrating Pakistan's Champions Trophy victory

Indian police arrest 15 Muslim men for celebrating Pakistan's Champions Trophy victory

The men were charged with sedition (stock photo)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Fifteen Muslim men have been arrested in India for celebrating the Pakistan cricket team's victory in the Champions Trophy on Sunday.

Local media is reporting the men - aged between 19 and 35 - were picked up in the state of Madhya Pradesh in central India. 

The locals had reportedly claimed they were lighting firecrackers and shouting "pro-Pakistan" slogans. 

The authorities descended upon them, took them into custody, and charged them with sedition - a charge which potentially carries life imprisonment if convicted.  However the charge has since been dropped, replacing it with one of disturbing communal harmony.

“It’s difficult to prove the sedition charge. Moreover, none of them has a criminal background. After initial investigation we found Section 153-A is more appropriate instead of Section 124-A,’’ Burhanpur SP RR Parihar told The Indian Express.

Pakistan beat their much-fancied Indian rivals by 180 runs on Sunday, claiming the Champions Trophy - cricket's second-most prestigious 50-over tournament - in the process.

The match resulted in pockets of violence breaking out across India, notably in West Bengal, as well as a flashpoint in the British city of Leicester, which has a large Asian population.

The two countries have been hostile ever since Pakistan was created in the wake of the Second World War, with much of the tension centring on the disputed region of Kashmir. The hostility is reflected in cricket, with the India-Pakistan rivalry among the fiercest in any sport.