Ahead of World Cup clash, Indo-Pak fever hits Kashmir

Ahead of World Cup clash, Indo-Pak fever hits Kashmir

The Indian and Pakistani cricket teams will meet each other for 6th time in a 50-over cricket World Cup at Adelaide Oval on Sunday with the latter yet to register a win.

Battle lines are being drawn; fire-crackers are being stocked and linesmen and cable operators are being warned to ensure uninterrupted services as India take on Pakistan in the much awaited World Cup cricket match on February 15.
 

Cricket has always been a passion in the subcontinent and Kashmir is no different. The stories of butchers slashing their transistors, people falling off balconies or cricket buffs watching matches wearing full cricket gear are common. Temperatures rise every time the sub-continental archrivals clash on ground.

 

The Indian and Pakistani cricket teams will meet each other for 6th time in a 50-over cricket World Cup at Adelaide Oval on Sunday with the latter yet to register a win.

 

The match is scheduled to start at 9 am Indian Standard Time. During the last few days firecrackers have been selling like hot cakes in Maharaja Bazar locality here.

 

And, some youths are not even going to wait for the result; their crackers will start bursting from the beginning itself. “We are going to burst crackers on every wicket or six hit by our favourite team,” said Adil Ayoub, a youngster from Rajouri Kadal.

 

The overzealous youths have also kept security forces in a tizzy. Bursting crackers near bunkers and security installations or raising particular slogans often leads to dangerous confrontation.

 

“Why do you ask us, they too burst crackers when their favourite team wins,” said another youth from Zaina Kadal accompanying Adil.

 

At several places the employees of Power Development Department (PDD) are getting special requests and veiled threats not to cut the electricity supply during the match.

 

In past, the situation has turned tragic too. In March 2013 a PDD daily-wager was electrocuted in Kulgam after some cricket fans allegedly restored power supply while he was repairing supply lines.

 

Kashmiri students pursuing studies outside the state are no less anxious. Parents are making frantic calls to their children advising them to remain away from cricket watching venues or any crowds.

 

“I told him, I don’t care about your cricket love. Just be away from any common hall or canteen,” said Fayaz Ahmad, whose son is pursuing B Tech degree at a private college in Noida.

 

“I told him to remain indoors as I don’t want Meerut to happen with my son,” he further said referring to last year’s incident in which around 60 Kashmiri students were slapped with sedition charges for supporting Pakistani cricket team during a similar match at Swami Vivekanand Subharti University.

 

NIT Hazratbal, which often takes precautionary measures like closing down common halls or banning congregational match-viewing is in a relaxed mode as the college is closed owing to vacations. Social media is also playing its part in drumming up the support for the warring teams.

 

A widely circulated meme on facebook says “real men don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, they wait for Indo-Pak match.” The discussion and comment boxes are rife with heated arguments between the warring sides.

 

Doctors have repeatedly advised people to treat these high intensity matches as just another game of cricket. “People get immersed in the game.

 

They get pleasure from the activity and emotional load is the rent which it asks for, so it is a give and take situation,” said Dr Arshid Hussain, Associate Professor Department of Psychiatry Government Medical College Srinagar. “But I feel it is much healthier than other activities like consuming drugs or alcohol.”