A group of Sikh protestors sporting "Punjab Referendum 2020" T-shirts and chanting pro-Khalistan slogans were evicted from the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester on Tuesday during the first World Cup semi-final between India and New Zealand.
Greater Manchester Police said two of the men were arrested for causing disruption and later released. Two males were arrested for a breach of the peace, both have subsequently been released without charge," said a police statement.
The group appeared to be similar to the ones seen at Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham during India's World Cup match against England on June 30. They had been forced to leave the stands by ground security at the time.
"We were asked to remove Referendum 2020 T-shirts and banners by officials, which we refused to take down as Khalistan is a political opinion," said Paramjeet Singh Pamma, from the Sikhs for Justice outfit, in a statement following the incident. "We were peacefully advocating our right to campaign and we will take appropriate legal action," he had said at the time. The group admitted raising Khalistan Zindabad slogans and that the International Cricket Council (ICC) had officially complained about their presence.
"We do not condone any sort of political messages at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup," an ICC statement said.
On Saturday, an unnamed private aircraft flew from Bradford zone with banners like "India stop Mob Lynching" and "Justice for Kashmir" over the Headingley air space on a number of occasions during the India-Sri Lanka match. This left the cricket body ICC embarrassed as it was the second such breach of security after another aircraft flew with the banner "Justice For Balochistan" during the game between Afghanistan and Pakistan. A number of fans were evicted after a brawl inside the stadium premises, which is believed to have been triggered by the banner's display.
(With agency inputs)