India arrests villagers for cheering Pakistan cricketers

New Delhi, June 20

Indian police said today they had arrested 15 villagers and charged them with sedition — punishable by life in prison — for celebrating Pakistan’s victory over India’s cricketers in the Champions Trophy.

The villagers were arrested in Burhanpur district of Madhya Pradesh state yesterday after police received a complaint that they set off firecrackers and shouted slogans following Pakistan’s dramatic win on Sunday.

“We received a complaint from a local man who accused them of celebrating after India lost the match,” Burhanpur police chief Raja Ram Parihar told AFP.

The accused have also been charged with criminal conspiracy, the officer said, adding the celebrations continued for hours in the sensitive locality.

Passions run high over cricket in India — particularly when it comes to arch-rival Pakistan. Cricket fans in both countries have been arrested in the past for supporting the rival teams or players.

Around 60 students from India were arrested on sedition charges after they were accused of celebrating Pakistan’s victory over India in 2014.

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