Free Press Journal

Kashmiri students cheering Pak a “political statement”: BJP


New Delhi: Amid controversy over police action against Kashmiri students after they cheered Pakistan’s victory over India in a cricket match, BJP today said their action conveyed a “political statement” and caused “suspicion” in the minds of a very large number of people.

Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said such action “alienates” them from the national mainstream and wondered if they realised the extent of damage they do to millions of well-meaning members of their own community who may not share their perception.

“When an identified group of persons in a structured manner celebrate the Pakistani victory, it is not an innocent appreciation of the sporting qualities of Pakistan. There is a political statement in-built in such an act,” he wrote on his blog in an obvious reference to the incident in a Meerut university.

The argument that this reflects a sense of alienation of a certain category of people fails to convince him, he said, adding “well-meaning Indians and in particular community members should prevail upon such misguiding young men that what they have done is to hurt themselves, hurt their community and hurt the country”.

Arguing that the issue is not as to whether such young men can be prosecuted or not but what is the political message that such a “deliberate” gesture will send. It’s a lose-lose game for them, he said.

Around 60 Kashmiri college students studying in Meerut were yesterday charged with sedition by UP police for cheering Pakistan’s victory against India in Asia Cup match in Dhaka recently but the stringent charge was withdrawn after it invited angry response from many, including J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

Jaitley said one can always admire the qualities of a great sportsman “but in a competitive cricket the nationalistic spirit inevitably pulls you to your national team”.