Ripon Chowdhury, 22, loves to play cricket. He hails from a small village in Hailakandi district of Assam. On 12 December, he was arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy under 120 (B), 294 IPC. His fault: he chose to be a fan of Pakistani cricket Shahid Afridi.
He had gone to play cricket in a local tournament wearing an Afridi jersey. Someone in the gallery protested, which led to a scuffle. He was called an anti-national. He refused to take off his t-shirt, instead tried to smudge ‘Pakistan’ written on it with mud.
Later, local BJP youth activists lodged an FIR against Chowdhury. He was arrested and detained for eight hours. Preliminary investigation by police found all accusation against him was fake.
Afridi has reportedly expressed disappointment over the incident. “It is shameful that such an incident should take place. It is sad that politics is being played with cricket,” he told Jang newspaper in Pakistan. Meanwhile, Chowdhury is getting a lot of phone calls from across the border supporting him.
When InUth contacted the DGP of Assam Mukesh Sahay, the top cop said all charges against Chowdhury have been dropped.
In the above video, Ripon Chowdhury talks about why he likes Shahid Afridi. “He is not selfish,” says Chowdhury. He talks about the Pakistani cricketer’s skill and reliability. He goes on to talk about the day when police arrested him for wearing his idol’s jersey. He is clearly anguished that people would challenge his patriotism because he supports a cricketer from Pakistan.