by Umar Khurshid
Srinagar: As India and Pakistan cricket teams are busy facing each other at Manchester ground in the ongoing Word cup 2019, a number of Kashmiris on social media have suggested cricket lovers watch cricket as a game not a war.
Suggesting that cricket is just a game, not a battle, a number of Whatsapp groups and Facebook pages have even started a campaign requesting youngsters especially those studying outside valley not to land themselves into any kind of controversy by posting anything about any player or a team. Earlier, many cases were witnessed where Kashmiris outside valley-mostly students were beaten or even thrown out of the institutions for supporting one particular team.
On Sunday morning, forty per cent of shops and other private commercials were closed in Srinagar and other districts of the valley as people had been waiting for so long for the much-awaited event.
“There are 50% of shops and showrooms open here and all of them are flooded with the cricket fans watching the game,” one of the viewers from south Kashmir’s Anantnag district told this reporter.
In Kashmir, as witnessed earlier, people wait for this day for months and then finally with a bunch of more like-minded fans get together and watch the game. People believe that there are millions of people and their emotions attached to the game.
But the important message being widely shared on by the users on social media are asking other fellows not to create any chaos, thus watch the game and enjoy it.
Malik Ishfaq – an educational consultancy operator from Anantnag district, while requesting his students studying outside valley wrote; “To our Kashmiri youths studying in universities and colleges across India. Please don’t get sentimental during India and Pakistan match. Watch it as a game between two teams. Don’t give a chance to another side to beat you. Your parents and friends will be anxious today about your safety. Act with maturity and don’t behave like hyper kids during the match. It is a game and the team which plays well on the given day will be victorious.”
Another user Sana Qadri, a Srinagar resident wrote; students, watch it as a game, no more battles further, stay safe.”
Another user from north Kashmir’s Baramulla wrote; “The the reason I don’t watch cricket is that I find it boring and secondly it always lands a person into the controversy no matter which team gets applauded. My humble request to Kashmiri students outside valley kindly take this game as a peace pill and spread love.”
As an India-Pakistan clash is normally the most-watched and anticipated match of a cricket World Cup. The match is the in-demand game of cricket ever played in England as over half a million people have applied for tickets.
Media reports suggest that almost 800,000 people applied for tickets, which were sold out within 48 hours of their release, and more than a billion people are expected to tune in for the match. Pertinently, Pakistan has lost all six matches they have played against India in the World Cup earlier. Right now Pakistan is chasing a score of 337 runs with the loss of three wickets.
Meanwhile, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti said that people have their rights to cheer whichever team they wanted to. “May the best team win in today’s India vs Pakistan cricket match. Every individual has the right to cheer for whichever team they believe in. So let’s be civil about it,” Mehbooba tweeted.