6 Years After 17 Muslim Men Were Accused Of Celebrating Pakistani Cricket Victory, MP Courts Find Police Case To Be False (Article 14)

More than six years after 17 Muslim men and two minors were accused of celebrating Pakistan’s victory in a cricket match in June 2017, a Madhya Pradesh court found the case was fabricated after the Hindu complainant and government witnesses said the police forced them to make false statements. Apart from the lies that upended their lives, the men, freed in October 2023, have alleged they were beaten and verbally abused in police custody. One accused, a 40-year-old father of two, broken by the ordeal, killed himself in 2019.

By Kashif Kakvi & Rishav Raj Singh

Burhanpur/Bhopal:  The residents of Mohad village in Madhya Pradesh, 30 km south of the state capital, Bhopal, no longer watch cricket matches between India and Pakistan because they are still traumatised by the arrest and trial of 17 Muslim men and two minors accused of cheering for Pakistan. 

After India lost the Champion Trophy final at the Oval Stadium in London on 18 June 2017, a rumour spread about the villagers raising slogans supporting Pakistan, distributing sweets and burning celebratory crackers. The accused were booked for sedition and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code, 1860. When the police found it impossible to make a case, they dropped sedition and added promoting enmity between different groups. They persisted with the case even though the Hindu complainant was publicly saying that he made no such allegations against the Muslim men from his village. 

At the time, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had been in power for three years at the centre, Hindu nationalism was rising, and the term “anti-national” was freely used against critics, especially Muslims. The mainstream media was reinforcing the government narrative and spreading Islamophobia. 

This story was originally published in article-14.com. Read the full story here.

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