Two planes bearing political messages, “Justice for Kashmir” and “India stop genocide and free Kashmir”, were flown over the Headingley stadium at Leeds during India’s World Cup match against Sri Lanka on Saturday.
The first message appeared during the third over of the Sri Lankan innings, while the stronger “India Stop Genocide and Free Kashmir”, was flown over the stadium when the 17th over was in progress.
This is the second time plans have been used to flag political messages this world cup. The last instance was at the same stadium on June 29 during a Pakistan-Afghanistan match when a plane flew by with the banners “Justice for Balochistan” and “Help End Enforced Disappearances in Pakistan.”
A scuffle broke out between Pakistan and Afghanistan fans at the stadium following the incident. Leeds air traffic said they would investigate the matter.
Political sloganeering is strictly prohibited at international sporting events and the instances are a bit of an embarrassment for the International Cricket Council.
“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.”