Two planes with messages which read 'Justice for Kashmir' and 'India stop genocide & free Kashmir' flew over the Headingley stadium in Leeds during India's World Cup match against Sri Lanka on Saturday (July 6). This is not an isolated incident as a plane dragging a banner reading 'Justice for Balochistan' flew over the same stadium during Pakistan's match against Afghanistan on June 29.
The ICC issued a statement soon after and said that they were extremely disappointed with political sloganeering during a cricket match.
"We are incredibly disappointed this has happened again. 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," an ICC spokesperson said about Saturday's incident.
'Will not overlook the political messages'
The ICC also said that they will not overlook the political messages which are being spread during the World Cup. "We work with local police forces around the country to prevent this type of incident occurring and were assured that, given Headingley is under the flight path for the Leeds Bradford Airport, it would not be an issue," an spokesperson of the council stated.
"We do not condone any sort of political messages at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup and will work with West Yorkshire police to deal with and understand why this has happened and to ensure it does not happen again."
It needs to be mentioned here that the incident in the Afghanistan-Pakistan match also led to ugly scuffles and brawls between the two sets of the fans inside and outside the ground.
Earlier in the day, Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunaratne won the toss and elected to bat first. They were rocked early, but a century from Angelo Mathews powered Sri Lanka to 264 runs on a surface which was slow. In response, India got off to a flying start and the openers were absolutely cruising along.