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Monday, March 10, 2014

Kaif to contest elections ~ action against students who cheered Pak

Venue : Lords London, year 2002……. Sourav Ganguly swung his India shirt from the balcony………… perhaps in retaliation of Fredie Flintoff’s action at Wankhede.  It was Natwest finals when India successfully eclipsed target of 326 by 2 wickets.  NatWest (officially named National Westminster Bank) is the largest retail and commercial bank in the United Kingdom. Since 2000, it has been part of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, ranked among the top 10 largest banks in the world by assets.  Kaif scored 87 and was Man of the match…

Away in Bangladesh, Srilanka won the Asia Cup for the 5th  time in style…  after missing out with ankle injury, Lahiru Thirimanne returned to the side  scoring a century in the finals.  Earlier, Lasith Malinga was Sri Lanka's hero of the day, taking all five wickets that fell during Pakistan's innings. Lankans left out Ajantha Mendis, who had till then been their highest wicket-taker in the tournament. For Paki, Fawad Alam made  maiden hundred; Sri Lanka have now won 34 matches in the Asia Cup - the highest by a team in the tournament.

Back home, the  dates of election to the biggest democracy have been announced…. Perhaps you might have heard of the names of competitors  going rounds in your area too…. Chetan Chauhan, Kirti Azad, Mohammad Azharuddin, Navjot Singh Sidhu,  (Sachin Tendulkar), Imran khan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Arjuna  Ranatunga, Aamir Sohail……………………. Some of the Cricketers who turned politicians……….. [there are some who did politics in Cricket too !]

Now comes the news that Mohammad Kaif, the former Indian batsman, will contest the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Uttar Pradesh's Phulpur constituency on a Congress ticket. Kaif is one of 194 Lok Sabha candidates whose names were released by the Congress Party on March 8. Kaif, 33, is an active domestic cricketer for UP. He played the Ranji Trophy in 2013-14 and a Vijay Hazare Trophy game against Vidarbha on March 5 this year. He last played for India in 2006, having ended his international career with 13 Tests and 125 ODIs. He made 624 runs in tests and 3922 runs in One dayers.  This electrifying fielder first came to prominence with his performances for India's Under-19s: he captained the side, which also included Yuvraj Singh, Ajay Ratra and Reetinder Sodhi, that won the Youth World Cup of 2000.  Kaif’s brother Mohammad Saif played cricket at first class level.

Asia cup brought to fore something else in the land which made  Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah state  that slapping of sedition charges against Kashmiri students in Meerut by Uttar Pradesh government for cheering Pakistan team during a cricket match that India lost was "unacceptably harsh punishment" and should be reversed. He said - "I believe what the students did was wrong and misguided but they certainly didn't deserve to have charges of sedition slapped against them. "I believe the university did what it had to, to control the situation, but this action by the UP government is uncalled for and should be reversed," Omar wrote on Twitter.

Around 60 Kashmiri students at Swami Vivekananda Subharti University in Meerut were expelled for three days from the hostel after they allegedly supported Pakistan cricket team against India in the Asia Cup match between the two sides on Sunday last. Sedition charges were slapped against unnamed students  later. SSP, Meerut, Omkar Singh said that on the basis of the complaint submitted by university chancellor, unnamed Kashmiri students have been booked under section 124 A (sedition), 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 427 (mischief) of IPC.

Omar, however, said the students did not commit any illegal act, irrespective of the team they were cheering for. "Finally while what the boys may have done in Meerut is misguided, it certainly isn't illegal, regardless of who them (sic) were cheering," he said. The chief minister said the students should introspect their actions as they had been selected under the Prime Minister's special scholarship scheme. Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) demanded that sedition charge slapped against Kashmiri students in Meerut for allegedly cheering Pakistan team during a cricket match that India lost should be dropped and UP government and the university apologize to them.

Sportsman spirit is different ~ when India and Pakistan play, tempers run high – support to Pak from this side of the border is often seen as disrespecting and disregarding the Nation ~ and sometimes the support is not borne out of Cricketing reasons too.  This newsitem which appeared in Daily Mail of 6th Mar 2014 provides another skewed angle to the episode.

Terror group Lashkar-e-Toiba on Thursday added itself to the cast of characters in the bizarre Meerut sedition case drama. Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, the chief of Lashkar front Jamaat-ud-Dawah, has sought to fan the flames of the  University incident by offering the 68 Kashmiri students suspended over cheering for Pakistan in Sunday's Asia Cup match against India full scholarships to study anywhere in the world. The Pakistan government got into the act too, with the foreign office spokesperson invoking "hearts and institutions", and offering scholarships.

Brazen  it is – the incident occurred within India and the State Govt has every power to take action as it deems fit – how and why the Pak Govt should respond and how can they offer scholarship to someone in India – sure there are enough students needing scholarship in their own land.  

Subsequent news state that in Meerut the police have not found substance in the sedition charge against the Kashmiri students and Section 124 (A) has been dropped from the case. However, the police will go ahead with Section 153 (A) and 427 IPC against them."  In law, sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that is deemed by the legal authority to tend toward insurrection against the established order.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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