The issue was raised in the state assembly today. Bandipore legislator Usman Majeed made a fervent appeal to the government to release the cricketers and show leniency for them on the pattern of stone throwers.
“There were some mischievous elements who created this problem, it is a far flung area and I think people were made to do this under pressure, police is now after the cricketers and this has also come in the media, but I don’t think cricketers had any bad intentions,” said Mr Majeed.
Joining the chorus, independent legislator Engineer Rashid – who was marshalled out of the assembly – said it was no crime to sing Pakistani anthem and the government action smacks of hypocrisy.
But the ruling BJP says it won’t allow anti national activities in the state.
This is not the first time cricket matches have led to arrests in Kashmir. Several Kashmiri cricketers were reportedly detained last year in Ganderbal district after a video clip surfaced in social media showing them wearing the Pakistani team’s jersey with the neighbouring country’s national anthem playing in the background.