Is Cheering For Pakistan A Felony?

Nearly 60 Kashmiri students of the Swami Vivekananda Subharti University in Meerut have been booked for sedition by the Uttar Pradesh government after they allegedly cheered for the Pakistan cricket team against India in the Asia Cup match between the two sides.

The students were also expelled for three days after they allegedly supported the Pakistan team. If the Kashmiri students felt affinity for Pakistan cricket team, is it that big an offence as to deserve rustication from the institute?

The legendary English cricket scribe Sir Neville Cardus wrote in his book “Cardus On Cricket” that despite being a true-blue Brit, whenever there was a cricket match between England and Australia, he prayed that Victor Trumper (Aussie batsman) must score a century but the Australian team should lose the match!

In my case, though I happen to be an Indian, my favourite team has always been West Indies, so much so that even when there’s a match between India and West Indies, I unabashedly want the latter to win. My favourite cricketers have never been Indian, though I like Sunil Gavaskar a bit. The cricketers I’ve idolised in life have been the peerless Sir Gary Sobers, Conrad Hunte, the famous 3Ws, Malcolm Marshall (all West Indians) and Zaheer Abbas of Pakistan. Am I a traitor?

Should a person or group’s fondness for “other” players and country be deemed as a felony (a very grave offence)? I’m unable to figure out.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 March 2014 on page no. 2

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