SRINAGAR: A bunch of Kashmiri cricketers was detained on Wednesday after a video clip surfaced on social media, showing them wearing the Pakistani team’s jersey with the neighbouring country’s national anthem playing in the background.
According to Hindustan Times Newspaper, the clip has gone viral since the Kashmir Media Service, a news portal based out of Pakistan, uploaded the video along with a news report on its website.
The Central Kashmir deputy inspector general of police, Ghulam Hassan Bhat, said the cricketers were detained for questioning. “The boys are in the police station.”
Security has been beefed up as residents have gathered near the police station, demanding immediate release of the 11 players, who reportedly represent a cricket club from the Kalmul area in central Kahsmir’s Ganderbal.
The video shows a scenic location surrounded by mountains, which the Pakistani portal identified as Wayil playfield in Ganderbal.
Sources said the video was from a cricket match between two teams, one representing Pakistan and the other India.
The players impersonating the Pakistan team turned out in that country’s colours, while the team representing India wore white.
“National anthems of both countries were played, like in any international match,” clarified a Ganderbal resident who didn’t wish to be named.
Hindustan Times could not verify if both anthems were played. The online video shows only the Pakistani anthem before the clip ends.
The Pakistani portal said the match was played on April 2, the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Chenani-Nashri tunnel, the country’s longest on the strategic Jammu-Srinagar national highway — the sole surface link that connects Kashmir Valley with the rest of India.
Sources said a team of the counter-terrorism National Investigation Agency (NIA) will fly from New Delhi to the Valley on Thursday to probe the cricket incident.
The players of Baba Darya Ud Din team, named after the popular saint whose shrine is situated in Ganderbal, was wearing green uniform of Pakistan.
In February, a video clip of Pakistan’s anthem sung by two Kashmiri musicians using traditional instruments went viral on social media in the Valley.
Toufiq Rashid, (HT)