The Board of Control for Cricket in India has filed a complaint with the International Cricket Council after “free Kashmir” banners were flown over the Headingley Cricket Stadium in Leeds in the United Kingdom on Saturday during the World Cup match between India and Sri Lanka, PTI reported.
Two planes carrying political messages, “Justice for Kashmir” and “India stop genocide and free Kashmir”, were flown over the stadium within half an hour after the start of the match. Midway into India’s run chase, a third banner – “Help End Mob Lynching” – was flown over the stadium.
“This is completely unacceptable,” an unidentified senior BCCI official told PTI on Saturday. “We have written to the ICC, raising our concern about what happened in Headingley today. If this kind of incident is repeated in the semifinals, it will be really unfortunate. Safety and security of our players is paramount.”
On June 29, banners reading “Justice for Balochistan” and “Help End Enforced Disappearances in Pakistan” were flown over the stadium during the match between Pakistan and Afghanistan. A fight broke out between Pakistan and Afghanistan fans following the incident.
“We are incredibly disappointed this has happened again,” the 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 a repeat of this issue, so we are very dissatisfied it has happened again.”
The airspace above Old Trafford in Manchester and Edgbaston in Birmingham will be turned into a no-fly zone during the semifinals on July 9 and July 11, PTI reported.