Indian authorities arrested 15 Muslims and initially charged them with sedition when they celebrated Pakistan’s win in the recent Champion’s Trophy against India. Later, the sedition charges were dropped, but the villagers are still in police custody over other charges. It has been reported that they can still face prison time for the mere fact that they cheered for the rival side.
According to the details of the incident provided, the villagers from central Madhya Pradesh were arrested on Monday after they let off fireworks and cheers for Pakistan’s win against India in the final of the Champions Trophy in England.
Upon hearing the commotion and witnessing their joy, a Hindu neighbor in Burhanpur district complained to the police and the men were immediately arrested for sedition—an offense which can carry a life sentence—among other charges. However, the move drew immediate criticism from rights groups and eventually the sedition charges had to be dropped.
Burhanpur police chief Raja Ram Parihar said the sedition charges had been dropped as there was no evidence the men chanted anti-India slogans.
“They did shout slogans in favour of the Pakistan cricket team and lit firecrackers, but that does not warrant sedition charges,” Parihar told AFP.
The youngsters are now detained for charges of disrupting communal harmony and criminal conspiracy for the rowdy celebration in Burhanpur, which has large Muslim and Hindu populations and a history of religious violence.
It has been reported that at least eight other people were arrested from different parts of India for celebrating Pakistan’s victory.