'Justice for Kashmir' banner flies over cricket match

'Justice for Kashmir' banner flies over Headingley during crunch India World Cup cricket match
2 min read
07 July, 2019
A plane flew over a World Cup cricket match between India and Sri Lanka with banners reading 'Justice for Kashmir'.
The International Cricket Council expressed its disappointment about the Justice for Kashmir banner [AFP]

Banners reading "#Justice for Kashmir" and "India stop genocide & free Kashmir" were flown over India's World Cup  cricket clash with Sri Lanka on Saturday.

It followed last week's incident when a banner was flown over the same ground in Headingley, Leeds during the match between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since they gained independence from British colonial rule in 1947. Both claim the Himalayan territory in full.

An insurgency on the Indian side have been fighting for decades some 500,000 Indian soldiers deployed in the territory New Delhi controls, seeking independence or a merger with Pakistan that administers a part of the divided former kingdom.

"We are incredibly disappointed this has happened again," the International Cricket Council said in a statement. "We do not condone any sort of political messages at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup.

"Throughout the tournament we have worked with local police forces around the country to prevent this type of protest occurring. After the previous incident we were assured by West Yorkshire Police there would not be a repeat of this issue, so we are very dissatisfied it has happened again."

The ICC said it had been assured by police that there would not be a repeat of the incidents during the semi-finals in Manchester and Birmingham.

Last week's group game between Pakistan and Afghanistan was marred by clashes between fans, prompting a police probe.

The ugly scenes were sparked by the flying of a banner over the ground reading: "Justice for Balochistan."

In-depth: Women of change in restive Kashmir

Balochistan, Pakistan's largest and poorest province, which borders Afghanistan and Iran, is rife with Islamist, separatist and sectarian insurgencies.

The Pakistani military has been waging war on militants there since 2004, and security forces are frequently targeted.

Later Saturday, another banner was flown over the stadium reading "Help end mob lynching in India".

Dozens of people have been killed by Hindu groups over the past five years over allegations that they had slaughtered cows or eaten beef.

Critics have accused the government of right-wing Hindu Prime Minister Narendra Modi of turning a blind eye to vigilante attacks on minority Muslims in the name of cow protection.

Modi has called the deaths "unacceptable" and called the mobs "anti-social" in his rare comments on the cases.

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab