Srinagar: With placards in hands and slogans calling for freedom of Kashmir, a group of Kashmiris living in the United Kingdom gathered outside the Edgbaston cricket stadium on Sunday morning ahead of the ICC Champion’s Trophy match between India and Pakistan.
Videos and photos of the demonstration went viral on social media in Kashmir. The demonstrators were seen holding up placards with slogans ‘Free Kashmir’, ‘Go India Go’ and ‘Demilitarize Kashmir’ while spectators were entering the stadium.
Besides posters and placards, pictures of Burhan Wani were also raised during the demonstration. A group of Indians, who were probably residents of the UK, reportedly objected to the demonstration and confronted the Kashmiri demonstrators outside the stadium.
Reports said that for the past several days, Kashmiris settled in England had been preparing to use the scheduled match as a platform to highlight atrocities on Kashmiris by the Indian government forces, as well as to spread awareness among the world community on the Kashmir issue.
Meanwhile in Kashmir, cricket fans were enthusiastically looking forward to the India-Pakistan match. There were not many shoppers in markets or commuters on the streets. Srinagar’s city centre Lal Chowk wore a deserted look during afternoon hours when people began watching the match on television.
The state government had even issued a notice seeking deployment of magistrates to avoid any “untoward incident” and to “maintain law and order” in some areas because of the match. “The Champions Trophy match between India and Pakistan is being played today (Sunday) at Edgbaston, Birmingham, London. In order to maintain law and order and to avoid any untoward incident following the match, duty magistrates are hereby deployed with immediate effect,” an order issued by the additional district magistrate said.