Police in a small, predominately Muslim, village in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh arrested 15 men for celebrating a Pakistan victory in a cricket match on Tuesday night. Pakistan defeated India in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy by 180 runs in what some consider to be the world’s fiercest sports rivalry. Given the two nations’ religious and political differences.
The arrested men have been officially charged with sedition, a crime punishable with life in prison in India, and criminal conspiracy. Police said the celebrations were politically motivated, pre-meditated and intended to incite a riot. The district of Burhanpur, where the alleged offense took place, has long been a home of politically motivated violence.
This is simply the latest in a trend of cricket celebrations being labelled as crime on the Indian subcontinent. 60 Indian students studying in Pakistan were arrested and charged with sedition for celebrating an Indian victory over their neighbors in 2014. In 2016, a Pakistani man was charged with sedition after waving an Indian flag to celebrate a last minute India win.