A die-hard fan of former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi was arrested for wearing a jersey in Hailakandi, Assam which he had done to show his love for the cricketer.
Ripon Chowdhury, from Hailakandi district, one of the 27 districts in Assam, wore a green Pakistani jersey in a recent cricket match at District Sports Association playground on Sunday. He was taken into custody after a complaint was filed by the youth wing of BJP – Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha.
Speaking exclusively to The Logical Indian, Superintendent Pranab Jyoti Goswami said, “There was a local cricket tournament going on and Ripon wore a jersey of Shahid Afridi. Soon after, spectators started protesting and the angry boy started quarrelling with them.”
Ripon was charged under section 120 (B), 294 of the Indian Penal Code which carries a three-month prison term alongside a hefty fine. “The situation went out of hand and were called in. Ripon was brought to the police station. After interrogating him, we realised he had no idea that it was a crime and released him on bail after he expressed regret regarding the incident,” he added.
Further, this is not the first time that an Indian or Pakistani has faced a backlash for showing love towards their neighbour. The incident is similar to the Virat Kohli fan of Pakistan, Umar Draz, who was arrested on a complaint after he hoisted the Indian flag on the rooftop of his house. Between the two countries, the sport is often used as a political tool, with Pakistan not participating in the recently-concluded Junior Hockey World Cup.
But was his mistake that big? Didn’t our country have fans of Wasim Akram and Imran Khan? Maybe, Ripon was a loyal fan, an admirer who thought of sport beyond borders.