India charges Muslims with ′sedition′ for celebrating Pakistan′s cricket win | News | DW | 20.06.2017
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India charges Muslims with 'sedition' for celebrating Pakistan's cricket win

Muslims in India have been charged with "sedition" for cheering Pakistan's win in the Champions Trophy final. Separately, India's head coach Anil Kumble has stepped down.

Pakistan Karachi Sarfraz Ahmad (Getty Images/AFP/R. Tabassum)

Pakistan team captain Sarfaraz Ahmed greets fans upon his arrival in Karachi on Tuesday.

Fifteen Muslim villagers in the Burhanpur district of Madhya Pradesh state were arrested for celebrating Pakistan's crushing victory over archrival India in Sunday's Champions Trophy final.

"There was tension in the Mohad village after the men chanted slogans in favor of Pakistan, distributed sweets and burst firecrackers in public places," district police chief SS Parihar said on Tuesday.

"We arrested the men on Monday evening following an investigation. There was an intent to provoke people and disturb peace. It was an activity against the nation," he said.

The men were charged with sedition and criminal conspiracy. A court denied bail and sent them to jail pending trial. Sedition carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. The village has a large Muslim population and there is a history of inter-communal conflict with Hindus.

Cricket is the most popular sport in Pakistan and India, where emotions run high especially when the two archrivals play against each other. 

Champions Trophy: Cricket, nationalism and the 'enemy' narrative

Cricket fans in both countries have been arrested in the past for celebrating the victory of the other side.

In 2014, around 60 students in India were arrested on sedition charges for celebrating Pakistan's victory against India. In Pakistan last year, a man was arrested for waving an Indian flag after Indian skipper Virat Kohli made a match-winning century.

Since independence from Britain in 1947 and partition of the subcontinent the two nuclear armed states have fought three wars.

Indian coach steps down

Separately, India's head coach Anil Kumble stepped down on Tuesday after a one-year stint leading the team to 12 victories in 17 test matches, but ending with Sunday's Champions Trophy defeat.

 "The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirms that Mr Anil Kumble has withdrawn his services as the post of the Head Coach for the Senior India Men's team," said a board statement.

Indien Cricket Trainer Anil Kumble (Getty Images/AFP/M. Kiran)

Kumble stepped down as head coach after an overall successful season.

"While the Cricket Advisory Committee had endorsed an extension to his tenure as Head Coach, Mr Anil Kumble has decided not to continue as the coach," the statement added.

The former Indian skipper, a legendary leg-spinner in his playing days, had re-applied to remain head coach last month, but appears to have backtracked amid rumors of a rift between him and captain Virat Kohli.

"I was informed for the first time yesterday by the BCCI that the Captain had reservations with my 'style' and about my continuing as the Head Coach," Kumble said in a statement posted on his Facebook account on Tuesday. "I was surprised since I had always respected the boundaries between Captain and Coach. Though the BCCI attempted to resolve the misunderstandings between the Captain and me, it was apparent that the partnership was untenable, and I therefore believe it is best for me to move on."

The captain's role in cricket is a more influential one than in many modern team sports. A string of key tactical decisions mid-game rest with the captain - at least officially - and not with the team's coach.

cw/msh (AFP, dpa)

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