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Firecrackers in several parts of Kashmir
SRINAGAR, Jun 18: Fire crackers were burst in several parts of Kashmir by fans of Pakistani cricket team for its victory over India in the ICC Champions Trophy cricket final at Oval in England.

The fans started bursting the crackers as the Pakistani’s victory became certain during the match.

As arch rivals India and Pakistan clashed at the ICC Champions Trophy finals today, authorities admit they have a problem on hand irrespective of who wins at the Lords.

Tensions traditionally run high in the Kashmir valley whenever India and Pakistan meet each other in a sporting event.

But given the present volatile law and order situation, authorities fear the result either way could have adverse fallout on the ground.

"It has unfortunately never been taken in the true spirit of sports in Kashmir. Whenever India and Pakistan clash, we have had law and order issues here," a news agency quoted an intelligence officer who wished to remain anonymous.

"The problem is not who wins. Either way, the result is a cause of concern for us," the official added.

Indeed, very few in the Kashmir valley treat an India-Pakistan match as a sporting event.

"A cricket match between India and Pakistan has always stirred passions here. It was the same when I was a child and it is the same when I am 62 years old now," said Mohammed Ashraf Bhat, who has been a Ranji trophy player and is now a selector for the national event.

"The difference, however, is that the reactions then were less aggressive," Bhat said.

Bhat added that Kashmiris have been great admirers of Indian cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and others in the past, yet their sympathies have always been with Pakistan during sporting clashes between the two sides.

Two international cricket matches have been played in Srinagar at the Sher-e-Kashmir cricket stadium.

The first was between India and the West Indies on October 13, 1983 and the second between India and Australia on September 6, 1986.

Spectators rushed into the middle of the ground and dug up the pitch during the first event and cheered India's defeat by raising anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans in the second event.

After militancy started in Kashmir in early 1989-90, tempers began to soar during India-Pakistan sporting clashes.

People have poured out in hundreds on the streets in jubilation whenever Pakistan won a match against India.

After 1990, the other addition to this rush of blood has been youths engaging the government forces in clashes whenever Pakistan loses an event to India. That certainly remains a major problem for the authorities in the troubled valley.

News Updated at : Monday, June 19, 2017
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