Muzamil Jaleel | Indian Express
NEW DELHI — The Uttar Pradesh Police have registered a case against 10 boys in Kushinagar district for wearing T-shirts of the Pakistani cricket team during a Muharran procession. The boys have been charged for acting “prejudicial to national integration and causing communal disharmony”, sources said.
The sources said the boys, said to be aged under 12, were part of the Muharram procession in Kalyan Chapad Chotta, a village under the jurisdiction of the Kubersthan police station. They were playing with sticks, a tradition during Muharram processions especially in this region of Uttar Pradesh in which groups of boys exhibit their skills.
Sources said the police have named five boys in their case while the other five are yet to be named.
When contacted, SP Kushinagar Lalit Kumar Singh said “an FIR has been lodged but nobody has been arrested”. He did not want to explain as to why the case was registered.
Kushinagar DM Lokesh M told The Indian Express that it was a small issue and the district administration is trying to sort it out. “These children were wearing those T-shirts and once it was pointed out, they removed it immediately,” he said. He said the police have not given him any report yet. He said that Kushinagar district is communally sensitive.
The family members of the boys were not ready to speak because of fear. A police team had already visited the village for investigation.
A village elder, Liyaqat Ali, said this case has created tension in the village. “These are foolish children. They are 11-, 12-year-old children. They had bought these T-shirts from a shop and the elders had no idea about it,” he said. “If the police had an objection to this, they should have explained this to the children. What was the need to register a case,” he said. “The police case has created tension in the village. We are unable to understand as to why police filed a case of sedition against these children.”
A local social activist, Shakir Ali, however, said the issue was being unnecessarily exaggerated. “These T-shirts are readily available with a local sports shop. A group of boys had picked these T-shirts so that they could wear them during the stick playing tradition during the Muharram procession,” he said. “They had done it without knowing that it would get them into trouble. Once someone pointed it out, they removed it immediately.” He said there is a lot of fear among the Muslim population in the village after this incident, especially after police filed the case. “How is wearing a T-shirt of a country that is readily available in a store here seditious?’’ he asked.
Sources said activists of Hindu Yuva Vahini burnt Pakistani flags at different places especially at Padrona Subash Chowk in the district on Wednesday and sought action against the boys.-c. Indian Express