Celebrations In Indian Kashmir After Pakistan Win
SRINAGAR, India (AFP) — Residents in Indian-ruled Kashmir Sunday fired crackers in the region's main city after Pakistan beat Sri Lanka to win the World Twenty20 championship, witnesses said.
Srinagar -- the Kashmiri summer capital -- erupted in celebration after Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets and as scores of Kashmiri youth poured on to the streets and lit firecrackers.
The youths also chanted pro-Pakistan and pro-freedom slogans as Indian paramilitary troops stayed in their bunkers, witnesses said.
Thousands of Kashmiris, including women and children, were glued to their televisions sets to watch the tense final.
"It is a great victory and one day I hope we will merge with Pakistan," said a die-hard Pakistani cricket fan, Mohammed Yaseen.
Residents in Muslim-majority Kashmir valley traditionally support Pakistan in sports events.
Indian-occupied Kashmir is in the grip of a nearly 20-year insurgency that has so far claimed more than 47,000 lives by an official count.
India annexed Kashmir almost half a century ago and does not recognize U.N. resolutions that India’s leaders accepted earlier to allow the Kashmiris a free and fair referendum on whether they want to join Pakistan or India. The issue remains an unfinished business of the British withdrawal from the region after two centuries of colonization. India was ruled Muslim emperors from what is now Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia before the British invaded the region in late 18th century.