World Cup 2019: Fans face heat from security over Punjab-centric attire

Updated: Jul 10, 2019, 09:56 IST | Harit N Joshi

Few fans attempted to use the World Cup semi-final match between India and New Zealand here at Old Trafford to demonstrate issues pertaining to Punjab

World Cup 2019: Fans face heat from security over Punjab-centric attire
Indian fans being evicted from the Old Trafford stadium. Pics /Harit N Joshi

Manchester: After India's match against Sri Lanka at Leeds last week witnessed politicisation of sensitive events pertaining to India, yesterday, a few fans attempted to use the World Cup semi-final match between India and New Zealand here at Old Trafford to demonstrate issues pertaining to Punjab.

Four fans, who were wearing t-shirts that read, 'Punjab referendum 2020', were evicted by the police.

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Dalpreet Singh, who is based in Birmingham, told mid-day: "We are being evicted from the stadium. We were only wearing this t-shirt. We were not chanting anything. But yes, we wanted to demonstrate and express our feelings and that is why we wore this t-shirt. It is our right to demonstrate. There is freedom of speech and expression. We feel Punjab should be a separate nation," he added.

Batman fan has a big heart

Team India's fan-following has been well documented, but yesterday we came across a die-hard fan with a big heart. Just six weeks ago, Rajesh Gupta, 46, had suffered a heart attack, but that did not prevent him from travelling from Birmingham for the India v New Zealand semi-final at Old Trafford. Dressed in Batman attire for the match, Gupta was in good spirits.

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"I suffered a heart attack. I already have two stents [in me]. I have come for this match against my doctor's advice. I wanted to come and support the Indian team especially since it's a semi-final," Gupta said.

Asked why he was dressed as Batman, he said: "I have always been a Batman fan. Considering the health issues I was going through, this attire gives me a bit of motivation that I am strong enough."

Patil at Old Trafford

The owner of the DY Patil Stadium in Nerul, Dr Vijay Patil made his way to Old Trafford here for the World Cup semi-final clash between India and New Zealand. For Patil and his family, this was their first World Cup match. "We will be here till the final at Lord's. This is an exciting phase of the tournament and we didn't want to miss it," said Patil.'

Rain can't dampen spirit

Rain played spoilsport yesterday by not allowing the New Zealand innings to get completed, but the spirit of the fans could not be dampened. The mood in the stands was upbeat as fans danced to the dhols and sang Bollywood songs to keep the spirits high. Some anxious fans gave up hope of play resuming while many loyal supporters stayed put at the stadium, waiting for an official announcement.

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