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Cricket: Plane carrying Kashmir message flies over Headingley

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By Amlan Chakraborty

LEEDS, England (Reuters) – Geopolitics resurfaced at the Cricket World Cup on Saturday when a plane towing a “Justice for Kashmir” message flew over Headingley during India’s final group game against Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan innings was into its first hour when the plane moved over the stadium with the message. A second message was towed across the venue, though it could not be ascertained if it was done by the same plane.

“We are incredibly disappointed this has happened again,” an International Cricket Council (ICC) spokesman 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 repeat of this issue, so we are very dissatisfied it has happened again.”

Nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars since independence over Kashmir, which both claim in full but rule in part.

Last Saturday, a plane with “Justice for Balochistan” flew over the venue before Pakistan’s match against Afghanistan, triggering scuffles among a section of the fans.

Balochistan is the largest province in Pakistan and borders Afghanistan to the north.

India beat Pakistan in Manchester en route to the semi-finals. Pakistan failed to reach the last four.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in Leeds; editing by Ed Osmond)

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