LEEDS, England (Reuters) – Geopolitics resurfaced at the Cricket World Cup on Saturday when political messages were flown over Headingley during India’s final group game against Sri Lanka.
Cricket – ICC Cricket World Cup – Sri Lanka v India – Headingley, Leeds, Britain – July 6, 2019 A plane with a banner flies over the match Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith
The Sri Lankan innings was into its first hour when a plane moved over the stadium with a “Justice for Kashmir” message. A second message was towed across the venue, though it could not be ascertained if it was done by the same plane.
“We are incredibly disappointed this has happened again,” the International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a statement.
“We do not condone any sort of political messages at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. Throughout the tournament we have worked with local police forces around the country to prevent this type of protest occurring.”
“After the previous incident we were assured by West Yorkshire Police there would not be repeat of this issue, so we are very dissatisfied it has happened again.”
During India’s chase, a plane towing a “HELP END MOB LYNCHING IN INDIA” message circled the stadium before disappearing.
Nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars since independence over Kashmir, which both claim in full but rule in part.
Protests were held in several Indian cities last month following the lynching of a Muslim man last week by a Hindu mob that suspected he was a thief.
Last Saturday, a plane with “Justice for Balochistan” flew over the venue before Pakistan’s match against Afghanistan, triggering scuffles among a section of the fans.
Balochistan is the largest province in Pakistan and borders Afghanistan to the north.
India beat Pakistan in Manchester en route to the semi-finals. Pakistan failed to reach the last four.
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in Leeds; editing by Ed Osmond