Kashmir celebrates Australia’s win

Cricket fans in Kashmir erupted in jubilation after Australia thrashed India in the semi final match of the ongoing World Cup played at Sydney on Thursday.
Hundreds of firecrackers were burst in different parts of Srinagar and other towns of the valley. Many people were also seen exchanging sweets in parts of the downtown area of the city.
“It was a great victory for Australia and could have been better had India lost to Pakistan in semi-final. Still we are happy over Australia’s win,” said Imran Bhat of Nowhatta.
Many cricket fans queued in front of television showrooms in different markets of Srinagar and were seen cheering for Australian team.
“We were supporting Australia. Kashmir will always celebrate the Indian team’s loss, no matter who they play against,” said Saleem Ahmad of Bandipora.
Majority of Kashmiris do not relate themselves with Indian cricket team, particularly after 1990s when a movement of right to self determination started in Kashmir valley.
In October, 1983 when India played against West Indies at the Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium, the Indian cricket team had to witness a hostile crowd.
“Every big hit by the West Indies batsmen was cheered as was every loss of an Indian wicket. Some people in the crowd waved posters of Pakistani players and threw apples on Indian players,” said Zareef Ahmad Zareef, a renowned Kashmiri poet, writer and satirist.
Zareef said after the post match presentation the then West Indies captain Clive Lloyd said, “It seemed that we were playing at home not in India.”
After that incident, the second and the last time Kashmiris saw a match in their home ground was in 1986 between India and Australia.
Zareef said in that match the entire stadium was fortified with security forces.
“No local was allowed to enter the stadium in that match. People who had beard were not even allowed to walk around the stadium,” said Zareef, adding, “the administration brought local police in civil dress and portrayed them supporting the Indian cricket team.”
Meanwhile, social network sites like twitter and facebook were also flooded with comments congratulating Australia’s victory over India.
“I can hear fireworks in Srinagar. The despise is such among people. #IndvsAus,” wrote a twitterati Ibne Battuta.
“Kashmiris have taken off their Australia jerseys and donned back their green shirts. Mauka Mauka,” Battuta tweeted again.
A senior journalist from Kashmir valley wrote: “Many Kashmiris wishing good luck to Aussies should be an eye opener to those who don’t want to see realities on ground in #Kashmir.”
“On way to office, I overheard a vendor shouting at his friend in jubilation #Pakistan has “won” #Kashmir celebrates India’s loss,” wrote another twitter user.
Many Netizens also posted photos of bursting fire crackers on streets and congratulating each other on Australia’s win.
Posting a photo on facebook of people bursting firecrackers, Shafat Farooq wrote, “Yeah it’s not Sydney… It’s here in Kashmir – celebrations or a political statement, figure it out.”