Kashmiris visiting Kolkata in large numbers during winters is nothing new, it is simply part of economic migration. However, last week when Kashmiris, including a large number of students, turned Kolkata streets green, more than eyebrows were raised. Reason: they were there to cheer for their favourite cricket team – Pakistan.
A few days later, the huge presence of Kashmiris in Mohali made Pakistani captain Shahid Afridi acknowledge: “Yes, a lot of people, a lot of people are here from Kashmir.”
However, Afridi’s remarks didn’t go well with the Indian media and they played every trick to downplay the comment.
Kashmir’s love for Pakistani team is not something that is happening covertly, it is very much visible. It is rather out and loud.
In 2013, a number of Kashmiri students were ruthlessly beaten by Indian mobs for celebrating Pakistan’s victory over India in Asia Cup. As the controversy refused to die down they were rusticated from their respective universities.
At Kolkata, it was quite a spectacle when Kashmiris made deafening noise from the stands after Pakistan’s national anthem was played.
During Pakistan-Bangladesh match, a senior sports editor admitted that Bengalis were surprised to see huge support for Pakistan, as they were expecting massive support for Bangladesh.
If reports are true, around 15 thousand Kashmiris travelled all the way to Kolkata to witness Pakistan-Bangladesh match.
Even social networking sites were flooded
with pictures and videos of Kashmiris enjoying cricket wearing green jerseys and waving Pakistani flags.
After Friday’s clash between Pakistan and Australia, Afridi once again thanked Kashmiris for their love and support. His remarks draw a huge round of applause and cheering from the crowd, mostly Kashmiris. It was quite a scene to when Mohali roared with slogans like: Teri Jaan meri jaan, Shahid Khan, Shahid Khan.