India vs New Zealand: Holding banners with political messages, the spectators were demanding a referendum on creating an independent homeland of Khalistan in Punjab on Tuesday during the match which spilled over to Wednesday due to inclement weather.
India vs New Zealand: A group of Sikh protestors chanting pro-Khalistan slogans and sporting “Punjab Referendum 2020” T-shirts was evicted from the Old Trafford stadium during the first World Cup semi-final between India and New Zealand here.
Holding banners with political messages, the spectators were demanding a referendum on creating an independent homeland of Khalistan in Punjab on Tuesday during the match which spilled over to Wednesday due to inclement weather.
Greater Manchester Police said two of the men were arrested for causing disruption and later released.
“Two males were arrested for a breach of the peace, both have subsequently been released without charge,” said a police statement.
The group appeared to be similar to the one seen at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham during India’s World Cup match against England on June 30. They had been forced to leave the stands by ground security at the time.
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The ICC distanced itself from the incident.
“We can confirm a small group of fans were asked to leave Old Trafford during the first innings today for breaching the ticketing terms and conditions by undertaking a political protest,” an ICC spokesperson told PTI.
“We do not condone any sort of political messages at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup and initially asked the group to stop the protest so they could remain in venue, when they refused they were asked to leave,” the spokesperson added.
Earlier, anti-India banners were unfurled from planes over the Headingley ground during India’s last league stage match against Sri Lanka on Saturday. The BCCI had strongly objected to it, prompting authorities to declare Old Trafford air space a “No Fly Zone”.
It followed an earlier incident when a banner reading “Justice for Balochistan’ was flown over the same ground in Leeds during the game between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“We work with venue security and local police forces around the country to prevent this type of protest occurring and will continue to do so,” the spokesperson said.