DateLine: 22nd June 2009
Residents in Indian-ruled Kashmir Sunday fired crackers in the region's main city after Pakistan beat Sri Lanka to win the World Twenty20 championship, witnesses said.
Srinagar -- the Kashmiri summer capital -- erupted in celebration after Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets and as scores of Kashmiri youth poured on to the streets and lit firecrackers.
The youths also chanted pro-Pakistan and pro-freedom slogans as Indian paramilitary troops stayed in their bunkers, witnesses said.
Thousands of Kashmiris, including women and children, were glued to their televisions sets to watch the tense final.
"It is a great victory and one day I hope we will merge with Pakistan," said a die-hard Pakistani cricket fan, Mohammed Yaseen.
Residents in Muslim-majority Kashmir valley traditionally support Pakistan in sports events.
Indian Kashmir is in the grip of a nearly 20-year insurgency that has so far claimed more than 47,000 lives by an official count.
Islamabad denies Indian allegations that it funds and arms the insurgency. Most militant groups want Indian-ruled Kashmir to merge with Pakistan, and a few want the region to become independent.
(Article: Copyright © 2009 AFP)
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