March 11, 2014

Is supporting the opposition a crime?

Which sporting team you support is deeply personal, and tied in to your sense of identity
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To experience the contest at a visceral level you have to invest something of yourself in it © AFP

The complex interplay of allegiance, identity and nationalism has been highlighted by recent events in Meerut. Kashmiri Indian students at the Swami Vivekanand Subharti University incurred the ire of the Uttar Pradesh authorities by cheering when Pakistan defeated India in a recent Asia Cup match. For this gesture, they were charged with sedition - a serious crime, one step short of treason, introduced under British rule as a counter-measure to anti-colonial rebellion. The charges have been dropped but the students remain suspended. A heavy price to pay.

Sport can be regarded as an abstract expression of skill, athleticism and artistry, but at its heart it is a contest. Watching sport as a neutral observer, one might admire the technical prowess of the competitors, their determination, even be drawn in by the drama of a closely fought contest. But it is a semi-detached enjoyment, akin to the way one might appreciate a Holbein masterpiece or the Rubaiyats of Omar Khayyam. It is an intellectual pleasure.

To experience the contest at a visceral level, to savour the chest-thumping, heart-pumping, gut-constricting fears and triumphs, you have to invest something of yourself in it. As in life, the more you invest, the greater the risk, the greater the reward. You have to be prepared for the hurt of defeat to revel in the soaring joy of victory. You have to care.

An emotional investment is in itself a declaration of allegiance. Whether on the village green or the national stage, allying yourself with a team is an expression of personal identity. Norman Tebbit, a cabinet minister in Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government, understood this perfectly well. A sallow, cadaveric man, he was troubled that British residents of South Asian and Caribbean descent supported the countries of their heritage rather than the England cricket team. He mooted the "cricket test", widely known as the Tebbit Test, which - encapsulated in the question "Which side do your cheer for?" - posited that a British citizen who chose to support a foreign team against a British national team was not sufficiently invested in Britain. They might be perfectly law-abiding, tax-paying citizens, but their loyalty to Britain was open to question.

I lived in England for over 30 years. I could no more support England against Sri Lanka than I could breathe underwater. Love of Sri Lanka is ingrained in me, left there in childhood by the stories my father told me of our customs and traditions, our ancient civilisations, our luscious green hills, reinforced by a lifetime of interaction with the place and its peoples.

I'm not indifferent to England's success. I cheered when Steve Harmison induced Billy Bowden to raise a crooked finger, sending Michael Kasprowicz back to the pavilion and thereby giving England the Edgbaston Test of 2005 by the narrowest of margins. But it takes a moment of Sri Lankan triumph to make me leap from my seat and wave my fists like a man possessed. The reaction is inherent in me. It is not the product of a coldly reasoned decision to support one side or another; it is not born of intellectual appreciation of a moment of skill; it is raw, impassioned, visceral, and an undeniable expression of my identity.

I do know of immigrants who have taken that coldly reasoned decision to switch allegiance from the country of their birth to the country of their residence. South African friends here in Australia have decided that Australian residence and citizenship oblige them to support Australia. Some have successfully made the transition; for others, the resolution lasted until the first ball at the Gabba in 2012.

So did Tebbit have a point in arguing that support of a cricket team is a barometer of loyalty, and, more importantly, of successful integration into a host society? He didn't seem perturbed that Australians, whether they had lived in the UK for three months or for 30 years, supported the men wearing the baggy green. Australians, by and large, share a language, religion and, let's be frank, skin colour with their British hosts. Perhaps it is the sense of otherness that Tebbit seemed uncomfortable with.

Tebbit might argue that Australians, despite their predilection for backpacks, have never crammed those backpacks with explosives and detonated them on or under the streets of London. A similar argument has been made in the Indian press. Indians supporting Australia, it has been said, might be a puzzling irritant; Indians supporting Pakistan, in the context of current geopolitical relations between the two countries, takes on a more significant meaning.

The pursuance of the Kashmiri students under sedition legislation suggests that their actions were viewed in some quarters not simply as an expression of their identity but as a political act of protest. There is a long history of such protest in sport. When the British Lions rugby team toured South Africa during the apartheid era, they found crowds of black South Africans cheering them on. Rugby was then almost exclusively a white sport, much loved by Afrikaners. Black South Africans supported the touring team as an act of political protest against the government that oppressed them, a government that responded with sjambok-wielding policemen.

Ultimately, only the Kashmiri students themselves can say whether they were expressing their identity, making a political protest, or both. The matter of who to support is deeply personal, not to be dictated by elderly politicians or societal expectations. One thing is clear, though. To derive every last drop of enjoyment from a sporting contest, you have to commit; you have to risk being wounded by failure; you have to pick a side.

Janaka Malwatta is a poet, doctor and cricket lover who lives in Brisbane. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • green_eagle on March 11, 2014, 17:46 GMT

    Ultimately, only the Kashmiri students themselves can say whether they were expressing their identity, making a political protest, or both. The matter of who to support is deeply personal, not to be dictated by elderly politicians or societal expectations. One thing is clear, though. To derive every last drop of enjoyment from a sporting contest, you have to commit; you have to risk being wounded by failure; you have to pick a side.

  • Balladeer on March 11, 2014, 14:37 GMT

    As an Englander, if somebody living in Britain was supporting Australia (the old enemy) I would take every opportunity to rub it in their face when England won (may be "if" now), not to mention avoiding them when England lose. Apart from that, they should be allowed to support who they like! Maybe they don't like how England play; maybe they have connections to Australia; maybe they just want to annoy me. Motive is irrelevant. It's a game, it's only a game, and anybody saying that this is remotely treasonable is part of the problem.

    I used to support whoever England were playing against in the football, in the hope that all the madness would go away and leave me in piece. Everybody should have the right to do that!

  • on March 14, 2014, 12:14 GMT

    Completely agree with the Author Sometime we support India when they are Playing with Aus/England and Sometime We Support SL when they are playing against some other nation.We need to support what our country we like.I love Pakistan but hate Pakistan team when they play bad cricket.Actually i love Cricket rather then teams.

  • on March 13, 2014, 23:53 GMT

    Call for Human Rights Commission...... This is supressing the Freedom of expression. @Y2SJ Even if u do protest and raise Slogans against your country, as long as its peaceful it is ok, It is every persons individual rights. This is absurd.

  • JohnnyRook on March 13, 2014, 12:06 GMT

    I think the real point is getting missed here. The question is not whether those students were celebrating Pakistan's win but whether they were celebrating Indian defeat. Having lived in USA, I understand the concept of loving two countries, one little more than the other. But this was more a case of hating your country, not loving some other country. To top it, those students were studying on scholarships funded by Indians.

    Only sad thing about this saga is that sedition charges were taken back.

  • S.Naeem on March 13, 2014, 10:12 GMT

    I agree supporting opposition or individual is not a crime and should not be punished but, if anyone staying in India and making their career in India they should not go support to opposition especially like Pakistan and they should not shouting and cheering " Pakistan Zindabad" its hurting. So,they should maintain the peace and should concentrate to their study....

  • shinewindies on March 13, 2014, 8:52 GMT

    1st of all let me make it clear to all that minorities and i mean all minorities in India share equal rights so just bcoz of this incident dont make false assumptions of our secularism, please do not forget the no of celebrities we have in India from all sections of minorities, our Army chief, PM, RAW intelligence head,former president are all from minority, in a country of 1.25 billion people some incidents(which take place once in 10 years not that they should take place) taken advantage of by few politicians gives a very false image about our secularism, you have to live here to realise the harmony amongst all be that in schools, colleges, sports fields, work places etc. As far as this incident goes this is not the 1st time some section of the society has celebrated Pak's win in India but what is questionable in this incident is the manner in which these celebrations were made raising ANTI INDIA SLOGANS ON THE STREETS, i dont think that will be acceptable to any patriot anywhere.

  • on March 13, 2014, 2:38 GMT

    India has very short temperament when it comes to Cricket and especially against Pakistan. This is not happening only in UP, its in all parts of India. This became a news because a renown University and Kashmiris were involved. In small cities it is common to support Pakistan over India.

  • Y2SJ on March 12, 2014, 21:01 GMT

    Wrong comparison. With the history between India and Pakistan any one who stays in a country and raises slogan against that very country should be charged with treason.

  • on March 12, 2014, 20:09 GMT

    India and Pakistan are unfortunate neighbors hostile to one another. I don't agree with the author likening it to Aus/Eng rivalry. The two nations hostility is not history., its still going on. Obviously allegiance was questioned and in my opinion rightly so. I would have the Kashmirs gladly support/ cheer may be Australia or England...not Pakistan. By the way I do have Pakistani friends., and definitely not fanatic.

  • green_eagle on March 11, 2014, 17:46 GMT

    Ultimately, only the Kashmiri students themselves can say whether they were expressing their identity, making a political protest, or both. The matter of who to support is deeply personal, not to be dictated by elderly politicians or societal expectations. One thing is clear, though. To derive every last drop of enjoyment from a sporting contest, you have to commit; you have to risk being wounded by failure; you have to pick a side.

  • Balladeer on March 11, 2014, 14:37 GMT

    As an Englander, if somebody living in Britain was supporting Australia (the old enemy) I would take every opportunity to rub it in their face when England won (may be "if" now), not to mention avoiding them when England lose. Apart from that, they should be allowed to support who they like! Maybe they don't like how England play; maybe they have connections to Australia; maybe they just want to annoy me. Motive is irrelevant. It's a game, it's only a game, and anybody saying that this is remotely treasonable is part of the problem.

    I used to support whoever England were playing against in the football, in the hope that all the madness would go away and leave me in piece. Everybody should have the right to do that!

  • on March 14, 2014, 12:14 GMT

    Completely agree with the Author Sometime we support India when they are Playing with Aus/England and Sometime We Support SL when they are playing against some other nation.We need to support what our country we like.I love Pakistan but hate Pakistan team when they play bad cricket.Actually i love Cricket rather then teams.

  • on March 13, 2014, 23:53 GMT

    Call for Human Rights Commission...... This is supressing the Freedom of expression. @Y2SJ Even if u do protest and raise Slogans against your country, as long as its peaceful it is ok, It is every persons individual rights. This is absurd.

  • JohnnyRook on March 13, 2014, 12:06 GMT

    I think the real point is getting missed here. The question is not whether those students were celebrating Pakistan's win but whether they were celebrating Indian defeat. Having lived in USA, I understand the concept of loving two countries, one little more than the other. But this was more a case of hating your country, not loving some other country. To top it, those students were studying on scholarships funded by Indians.

    Only sad thing about this saga is that sedition charges were taken back.

  • S.Naeem on March 13, 2014, 10:12 GMT

    I agree supporting opposition or individual is not a crime and should not be punished but, if anyone staying in India and making their career in India they should not go support to opposition especially like Pakistan and they should not shouting and cheering " Pakistan Zindabad" its hurting. So,they should maintain the peace and should concentrate to their study....

  • shinewindies on March 13, 2014, 8:52 GMT

    1st of all let me make it clear to all that minorities and i mean all minorities in India share equal rights so just bcoz of this incident dont make false assumptions of our secularism, please do not forget the no of celebrities we have in India from all sections of minorities, our Army chief, PM, RAW intelligence head,former president are all from minority, in a country of 1.25 billion people some incidents(which take place once in 10 years not that they should take place) taken advantage of by few politicians gives a very false image about our secularism, you have to live here to realise the harmony amongst all be that in schools, colleges, sports fields, work places etc. As far as this incident goes this is not the 1st time some section of the society has celebrated Pak's win in India but what is questionable in this incident is the manner in which these celebrations were made raising ANTI INDIA SLOGANS ON THE STREETS, i dont think that will be acceptable to any patriot anywhere.

  • on March 13, 2014, 2:38 GMT

    India has very short temperament when it comes to Cricket and especially against Pakistan. This is not happening only in UP, its in all parts of India. This became a news because a renown University and Kashmiris were involved. In small cities it is common to support Pakistan over India.

  • Y2SJ on March 12, 2014, 21:01 GMT

    Wrong comparison. With the history between India and Pakistan any one who stays in a country and raises slogan against that very country should be charged with treason.

  • on March 12, 2014, 20:09 GMT

    India and Pakistan are unfortunate neighbors hostile to one another. I don't agree with the author likening it to Aus/Eng rivalry. The two nations hostility is not history., its still going on. Obviously allegiance was questioned and in my opinion rightly so. I would have the Kashmirs gladly support/ cheer may be Australia or England...not Pakistan. By the way I do have Pakistani friends., and definitely not fanatic.

  • Hate.ME on March 12, 2014, 16:48 GMT

    Janaka,

    Supporting the opposition is not a crime but shouting the slogans against your own nation that gives you bread and butter is.

  • subbuamdavadi on March 12, 2014, 11:04 GMT

    There is a BIG difference between cheering for your favourite team and shouting slogans against the country where you live and study and earn and basically earn your sustenance from. I am sure there are many who support a visiting team (and their individual players) - if they have displayed brilliance on the field against India...but to raise anti-national slogans? I am sure that is not cricket!

  • JJJake on March 12, 2014, 9:33 GMT

    my Aussie cousin goes for the West Indies. Mainly because he was born in 1982 so growing up he was sick of seeing Australia win everything (particularly between 1989 to 2005) . Also the West Indies had a great team to follow, with seriously fast bowlers and flashy batsman.

  • varunn.bhardwaj on March 12, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    I agree with you...supporting opposition is not a crime and not something to be dictated by the politicians. But here the probelum was.."something which I have seen in news"...that these guys were shouting Pakistan Zindabad... and cursing India...that is why they have been punished...I strongly disagree with the punishment if the media has been misguided and they have been solely punished because they supported Pakistan.

  • ziggy500 on March 12, 2014, 8:10 GMT

    I found this article moving. Although i have lived most my short life here in Australia, nothing gets my blood rushing than a Bangladeshi win (however rare they are). I can support Australia, but I cant put my heart and soul in them like my birth country. Like the author, tales of tradition and history implanted in me at a young age have made my passion for my birth nation stronger than any others, and i perhaps will never change. The rarity of a win also adds to the investment reffered to by the author, as that rare occasion when they do win, it makes the victory sweeter.

  • on March 12, 2014, 8:04 GMT

    Only the students know whether they wanted to India to lose because they didn't like India as a country or they were just supporting their favourite players.. albeit across the border. Though my thought is.. bursting crackers is more than a hint at sedition..

  • junaid_bhai on March 12, 2014, 7:35 GMT

    very well written article, I think it is very common in India. As a neighbor we are are very much informative about the bias racist & discriminate behavior towards minorities & if someone is supporting Pakistan even in sport it will be a more then sin for them. such cases are very common in so called biggest secular democracy, unfortunately it appears in international media.....

  • aniltjoseph on March 12, 2014, 7:10 GMT

    At the outset, I would like to say threatening to slapping sedition charges was a massive overkill. However, if Muslims or Tamils in Sri Lanka cheered for Pakistan or India respectively, would Sri Lankans be happy about it? To my Pakistani friends, if Hindus in Pakistan celebrated wildly and shouted anti Pakistan and Pro India slogans in public, would other Pakistanis tolerate it? Comparisons with immigrants in England/ Australia are totally irrelevant and reflects the author's complete lack of understanding on the passion that cricket evokes in India and Pakistan, as well as the political history of the 2 countries. I suggest the author does his homework before commenting on issues about which he has no clue.

  • on March 12, 2014, 6:20 GMT

    As a resident from not so far from Meerut, I would like to bring the attention of writer here that Kashmiri students were expelled due to raising anti India slogan. In India every person have rights to free speech. Any one can cheer for another country, and it may be Pakistan also. But, raising anti country slogan, where you are residing is a serious crime. What will be the reaction of Australia's citizens when a bunch of people start cheering for New Zealand and also start raising anti Australia slogans!!! Sure those people will be charged for this. This is true irrespective of any country. Cricinfo should not have published such blogs with half knowledge.

  • on March 12, 2014, 5:28 GMT

    this is hilarious .....I don't support India against south africa(&even ausies sometimes) bcz or india cricket team lacks passion,aggression,intensity. ... but the sa,ausies do go down without a fight. ,, there is no quit in these teams particularly the southafricans (my fav team since I started watchng cricket @the age of 7) in india they give more importance to IPL&one day cricket then tests.,,, even the fans cheer the Indian batsmans. .. if u ask any cricket fan in india "who is ur fav player?" iam 100'/- sure that will a batsman.., like wise indian cricketers run after money,girls..,,,,, Now iam extremely happy cheering Ab,biff,Dale,hash&go...for12years and this love will continue till I live. no govt can stop me nor a college would suspend me.. iam just supporting a cricket team not a country.... & I love my country (proud to be an Indian) but I cannot support its cricket team. coming to Kashmir students of they love to cheer pak its fine there no crime in cheering ur fav team.

  • Udendra on March 12, 2014, 4:54 GMT

    @vallavarayar: for your information, there are "Sri Lankans" who cheer PAK when they play in SL. But lankan's don't go beating them.

  • on March 12, 2014, 3:02 GMT

    You just make a closing statement about the political protest and wrote a ton about supporting other teams. I'm sorry but most people seems to miss the point altogether, It is not about the supporting a sports team, it is about clearly a political statement when someone shouts 'down with India'. There is a video making rounds on facebook and you can see towards the end of it the situation became highly volatile when they made some politically sensitive slogans. There is a difference between shouting 'viva la mexico' and 'death to america'. I am all for personal freedom but they clearly were dangerous to both themselves and disturbing the peace. Which brings me to another point, why is no one talking about scraping Indo-pak sports altogether. Is a game worth more than lives of people on both the sides? We clearly saw that it evokes a lot of emotion and India should never play pak (not even in the world cups) until the whole situation is resolved.

  • spinkingKK on March 11, 2014, 23:49 GMT

    An Indian cheering a Pakistan win is quite common. Definitely not punishable. I have seen some English nationals showing surprise at the reactions from India and the charges laid on the students. The truth is, when India plays Pakistan, it is like Iraq playing USA or England playing Germany during World War II. Even then, if one team is a minnow in that sport, then cheering the minnows' win is vindicated. If the contest is even and the teams are enemies who are constantly at war, then cheering the enemy nation's victory becomes more serious. Again, it also depends on the manner in which they conducted themselves.

  • on March 11, 2014, 23:10 GMT

    This is very different from the implications of the article. The students were on expensively burdensome Indian-taxpayer funded welfare grants. There is no shortage of Indian nationalist far more meritorious students - Kashmiri muslims included - at who's expense they have benefitted. The identity is between salafist constitutionally mandated islamist supremacism which carved pakistan out of India vs the constitutionally protected secular all-religion,culture,religion heterogeneity. According to census data, this led to a genocide of non-muslims (pakistan went 25% to 2.5% and in pakistn-occupied kashmir it was annihilated to <0.1% ) whereas India's demographics did not reciprocate this thanks to the safeguards of constitutional secularism. These together mean the shameless, ungrateful, cowardly treachery shown really humiliated all those like myself who support constitutional secularism and equality in India and shows how the fascist salafist supremacist idealogy is appeased in India.

  • Rememberthegame on March 11, 2014, 21:02 GMT

    Sedition? Treason? Recently an Indian supporter wrote that India only lost to New Zealand because they dropped some catches. Implying that this was somehow unfair and showed them still the better team. Whatever all this is it is not cricket.

  • sirish.aditya on March 11, 2014, 14:44 GMT

    The idea of treating sport like an intellectual pleasure, like indulging in any other art form, truly is a great way to go beyond the narrow confines of loyalty and allegiance. But even if some of us treat our teams as an extension of our own egos, personalities and ideologies, to charge those Kashimiri students for supporting Pakistan in a Cricket game is absurd. And like you mentioned, sedition was implemented by the British to curb down revolutionaries. And if a government of any country slaps it down on its own citizens who have a difference of opinion with the majority, then the idea of Democracy is flushed down the drain. What the government's done is arbitrary and despotic.

  • sankydagr8 on March 11, 2014, 14:00 GMT

    Well written but the truth of matter is Kashimiri Indians are born Indians, and Kashmir is part of India. Immigrants supporting birth country is understandable but people born in the country but celebrating victory of other is treason. Supporting and celebrating are vastly different. One can support any country but shouldnt celebrate victory of other country over your motherland. May be the step taken by police was extreme butthe deed is on border of treason. It is more painful because of the past relationship between the countries that makes it difficult to accept.

  • on March 11, 2014, 13:50 GMT

    I was at the Premadasa stadium when SL played Pakistan once. Great masses of local SRI LANKAN fans were waving Pakistani flags and cheering for them. These were not expats (or immigranst by any means) but were Muslims. Draw your own conclusions!

  • Bilal_Choudry on March 11, 2014, 13:38 GMT

    I think the boys are already in a lot of trouble ... making this a high profile issue may not help them at all ... Pak govt should also keep their comments to themselves and not ruin them boys future

  • sherishahmir on March 11, 2014, 13:25 GMT

    Well, Pakistan and India matches are probably the mother of all contest whether the game is hockey, cricket, football, kabadi or any other no team wanna to lost and probably the fans also got the same emotions of not losing against the arch opposition but it should not be personal and should remain to the game only.

  • on March 11, 2014, 11:49 GMT

    This incident however ghastly or senseless shows the true mindset of India, well Tebbit was right after all his test should be applied exclusively to Indians.

  • hellothereeveryone on March 11, 2014, 11:14 GMT

    Cricket is just a game so Indian authorities should treat it as a game. It was an Indo Pak cricket match and not an Indo Pak war so if you are a fan of Shahid Afridi you are going to be happy when he performs so well. It should not make a difference whether you are a Pakistani or Indian or any other nationality. I know a lot of Pakistanis who used to love see Sachin Tendulkar bat and used to cheer him up.Please dont spread this hatred to this extent. India and Pakistan are neighbours and should try to live in a friendly atmosphere. This will be good for both countries. Such instances by the authorities are not going to help to create a friendly enviorment. Indo pak matches are so competitive with so much raw talent on show. Lets enjoy these matches. The two cricket boards in the interest of the game and real cricket fans should organise more Pak india matches and series. Unfortunately the reality is exactly opposite to this and it should change at least in the interest of the game.

  • on March 11, 2014, 9:39 GMT

    mostly people here are telling what they experienced in srilanka or else where by local people of that country but there is a difference in with what happened with you guys and kashmiris as government ( government colleges ) and police officially took an action against them

  • mohd_asif on March 11, 2014, 9:34 GMT

    Amazed at some Indian posters defending their govt. Guys, you are supposed to be the tolerant ones... Bangladeshis paraded on the streets in pak when they beat us in 1999, and we just took it on the chin.

    Some of the pakistanis supported bangladesh, and cheered, while we simply took it as their right to celebrate in isb and karachi.

  • vallavarayar on March 11, 2014, 9:28 GMT

    The good Doctor fails to mention the ambiguous attitudes of the minorities in his beloved Sri Lanka. If he wants to really understand the nature of this phenomenon, he just has to talk to a few of the minority in his beloved country. That'd be preferable to his sentimentalizing over identities.

  • shinewindies on March 11, 2014, 8:57 GMT

    well i am an indian and was in Srilanka(Beautiful Country) with a friend for world t20 in 2012, saw the finals in premadasa and cheered for WI( we both have a big soft corner for the WINDIES) wearing WI shirts, were literally attacked outside premadasa by locals as we continued celebrating outside the ground, soon realised we should have left the celebrations inside the ground only, as far as this story goes let me clear that Kashmiris are not migrants. So comparing this incident with others in England, SA, AUS is totally irrelevant. Nothing would have happened if they would have kept their celebrations within the college premises, but carrying it to the streets and raising anti-India slogans was a bit over the top, yes they should not be jailed for this which they havent been and just suspended from the college.

  • on March 11, 2014, 8:28 GMT

    good article. it was a game. and plus you have to know that students were from kashmir. and which is in a way a bit politically disputed and people living in kashmir are divided. and some support pakistan. plus it might be "not acceptable act" but not a crime. it was a game not war.

  • baghels.a on March 11, 2014, 8:17 GMT

    Janaka although you touch a chord and offer a realistic and a humane perpective but Kashmiri students situation is much different from immigrants like you , first of all they are not immigrants and as you say it was a case loaded with political and religious overtones.As an patriotic but not jingoistic Indian them supporting Pakistan not because they find Pakistani cricket exiting but for political and religious reasons, to be fair those Kashmiri students claimed that they were coerced in to doing it because local students had been taunting them every time everytime Pakistan lost to any nation leave alone India making them feel as outsiders.It is a messy situation with a classic us v/s them divide .

  • Kheshgi on March 11, 2014, 8:13 GMT

    Great Aricle ! .... I am living in Karachi and there is a big population of Bengalis living in the city and they were supporting Bangladesh during the Asia Cup. We had no issues with it and there was no backlash against them. Therefore, the Indian Government acting in such a manner is little strange.

  • on March 11, 2014, 8:10 GMT

    Hats off Janaka, great article and a timely one. as you correctly pointed out that 'The matter of who to support is deeply personal, not to be dictated by elderly politicians or societal expectations". it is really harsh to see people are becoming supporters of a team or party with the hand of oppression. Yet some are giving their support to a team because of the fear or either to make someone happy. this is why as nations in this region we still hold that "developing or less developed" label for a long time. I am a sri Lankan supporter there is no doubt about it but I enjoy to watch virat & afridi. the couple mostly hated and bashed by my fellow supporters.

  • on March 11, 2014, 8:07 GMT

    Charging them for sedition is a bit too much, those students should only have been given a university level warning for their behavior which is under Indian pretext deemed culturally and socially insulting and inappropriate. I am not against disciplinary action against those students, but making a legal case out of it and charging them for sedition is just crossing the line of decency.

  • on March 11, 2014, 7:49 GMT

    @okeabhijit, yes, you are right. i am a Pakistani, and at first, when i heard about these boys, i was shocked, and naturally got angry with India! but later on, when i heard the complete story, i did get it right. yes, celebrating within your room is perfectly alright, but celebrating the success of an "enemy" openly and vividly is sometimes difficult to inhale and digest for authorities. so, i hope this matter will be solved amiably, and the authorities also get cool down. by the way, those 2 sixes of Afridi went all the way, just because of the prayers. as ramiz raja said on air, rightly, they were half hits!!

  • on March 11, 2014, 7:44 GMT

    @okeabhijit Every act that is "Not acceptable" is not a CRIME. Where is the Freedom of expression in the so-called World's largest democracy? Celebrating a team's win on the street is not a crime. You can understand this if you widen up your thinking.

  • okeabhijit on March 11, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    Janaka : You are ill informed in this article. Supporting a neutral team or even your opposition is understandable. It is the human right of each individual, but celebrating on streets chanting other country who has beaten your own is unacceptable. For IPL match it's fine you can support any club & celebrate the win, but not when countries are involved. And I personally enjoy to watch Afridi, Ajmal, Misbah, Shehzad from Pakistan, but in no way you cant go on streets celebrating.

  • okeabhijit on March 11, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    Janaka : You are ill informed in this article. Supporting a neutral team or even your opposition is understandable. It is the human right of each individual, but celebrating on streets chanting other country who has beaten your own is unacceptable. For IPL match it's fine you can support any club & celebrate the win, but not when countries are involved. And I personally enjoy to watch Afridi, Ajmal, Misbah, Shehzad from Pakistan, but in no way you cant go on streets celebrating.

  • on March 11, 2014, 7:44 GMT

    @okeabhijit Every act that is "Not acceptable" is not a CRIME. Where is the Freedom of expression in the so-called World's largest democracy? Celebrating a team's win on the street is not a crime. You can understand this if you widen up your thinking.

  • on March 11, 2014, 7:49 GMT

    @okeabhijit, yes, you are right. i am a Pakistani, and at first, when i heard about these boys, i was shocked, and naturally got angry with India! but later on, when i heard the complete story, i did get it right. yes, celebrating within your room is perfectly alright, but celebrating the success of an "enemy" openly and vividly is sometimes difficult to inhale and digest for authorities. so, i hope this matter will be solved amiably, and the authorities also get cool down. by the way, those 2 sixes of Afridi went all the way, just because of the prayers. as ramiz raja said on air, rightly, they were half hits!!

  • on March 11, 2014, 8:07 GMT

    Charging them for sedition is a bit too much, those students should only have been given a university level warning for their behavior which is under Indian pretext deemed culturally and socially insulting and inappropriate. I am not against disciplinary action against those students, but making a legal case out of it and charging them for sedition is just crossing the line of decency.

  • on March 11, 2014, 8:10 GMT

    Hats off Janaka, great article and a timely one. as you correctly pointed out that 'The matter of who to support is deeply personal, not to be dictated by elderly politicians or societal expectations". it is really harsh to see people are becoming supporters of a team or party with the hand of oppression. Yet some are giving their support to a team because of the fear or either to make someone happy. this is why as nations in this region we still hold that "developing or less developed" label for a long time. I am a sri Lankan supporter there is no doubt about it but I enjoy to watch virat & afridi. the couple mostly hated and bashed by my fellow supporters.

  • Kheshgi on March 11, 2014, 8:13 GMT

    Great Aricle ! .... I am living in Karachi and there is a big population of Bengalis living in the city and they were supporting Bangladesh during the Asia Cup. We had no issues with it and there was no backlash against them. Therefore, the Indian Government acting in such a manner is little strange.

  • baghels.a on March 11, 2014, 8:17 GMT

    Janaka although you touch a chord and offer a realistic and a humane perpective but Kashmiri students situation is much different from immigrants like you , first of all they are not immigrants and as you say it was a case loaded with political and religious overtones.As an patriotic but not jingoistic Indian them supporting Pakistan not because they find Pakistani cricket exiting but for political and religious reasons, to be fair those Kashmiri students claimed that they were coerced in to doing it because local students had been taunting them every time everytime Pakistan lost to any nation leave alone India making them feel as outsiders.It is a messy situation with a classic us v/s them divide .

  • on March 11, 2014, 8:28 GMT

    good article. it was a game. and plus you have to know that students were from kashmir. and which is in a way a bit politically disputed and people living in kashmir are divided. and some support pakistan. plus it might be "not acceptable act" but not a crime. it was a game not war.

  • shinewindies on March 11, 2014, 8:57 GMT

    well i am an indian and was in Srilanka(Beautiful Country) with a friend for world t20 in 2012, saw the finals in premadasa and cheered for WI( we both have a big soft corner for the WINDIES) wearing WI shirts, were literally attacked outside premadasa by locals as we continued celebrating outside the ground, soon realised we should have left the celebrations inside the ground only, as far as this story goes let me clear that Kashmiris are not migrants. So comparing this incident with others in England, SA, AUS is totally irrelevant. Nothing would have happened if they would have kept their celebrations within the college premises, but carrying it to the streets and raising anti-India slogans was a bit over the top, yes they should not be jailed for this which they havent been and just suspended from the college.

  • vallavarayar on March 11, 2014, 9:28 GMT

    The good Doctor fails to mention the ambiguous attitudes of the minorities in his beloved Sri Lanka. If he wants to really understand the nature of this phenomenon, he just has to talk to a few of the minority in his beloved country. That'd be preferable to his sentimentalizing over identities.