NEW DELHI, India – Indian police have arrested 15 Muslims and filed sedition charges against them for allegedly celebrating Pakistan's victory against India in cricket's Champions Trophy final.
The men, aged 19 to 35, were arrested in central Madhya Pradesh state's Burhanpur district after locals complained that they shouted pro-Pakistan slogans and lit firecrackers after the match ended Sunday night.
"There was tension in the Mohad village after the men chanted slogans in favour of Pakistan, distributed sweets and burst crackers in public places," district police chief SS Parihar said Tuesday.
"We arrested the men on Monday evening following an investigation. There was an intent to provoke people and disturb peace. It was an activity against the nation," he said.
The men were booked for sedition and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code. They were taken before a local court which rejected their bail applications and sent them to jail pending trial.
The maximum penalty for sedition in India is life imprisonment. Legal experts say it is among the most misused laws in the country.
South Asian neighbours India and Pakistan have a history of hostile relations – and have a famous rivalry on the cricket pitch as well.
Millions of cricket fans in both countries avidly follow the clashes on the pitch, which often turn into tightly contested matches.
But on Sunday, Pakistan beat India convincingly to lift the Champions Trophy title in London, resulting in heartbreak for Indian fans.