It would probably take Lionel Messi to appeal for peace in frenzied Kerala where football fever has set in, and how. Fans in yellow and striped blue, the national colours of soccer giants Brazil and Argentina were coming to devilish blows in God’s own country. On the opening day of the football World Cup in Qatar two days ago, over 3,000 km away, in Kerala, celebrations by a section of fans from Argentina and Brazil in Kollam district turned violent with visuals showing supporters of the respective teams trading blows.
The visuals of the incident, in the Sakthikulangara area of the district, went viral on social media and prompted the police to lodge a case under Section 160 (punishment for committing affray) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
— Ananth Rupanagudi (@Ananth_IRAS) November 22, 2022
An officer of Sakthikulangara police station said the incident occurred on November 20, when the marquee sporting event kicked off in Qatar. Fans of various teams were celebrating.
The competitive cheering for their own teams among the fans led to heated arguments and finally resulted in a brawl between them, police said.
The visuals of the incident showed a section of the large number of fans of Brazil and Argentina kicking and punching each other and using sticks to beat up one another, while some others were unsuccessfully trying to break them apart.
The visuals also showed fans wearing Portugal jerseys and one even carrying a flag of the England soccer team, joining the party of blows.
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The officer said police on its own lodged the FIR after seeing the visuals and they were trying to identify those involved in the incident from the videos.
He also said that the offence under section 160 IPC was a bailable offence.
Section 160 of IPC states that whoever commits an affray shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to one hundred rupees, or with both. On the same day in Palakkad, football fans at a huge procession got into an argument with the police personnel over the traffic movement being blocked by their celebrations and it led to stones being pelted at the officers and the police responding with a lathi-charge to disperse the crowd.
Two policemen were injured in the incident and 22 people were arrested.
Football mania has gripped Kerala, with huge cutouts of sporting stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi mirroring the Keralites’ love for the game.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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