World Cup frenzy turns violent in football-crazy Kerala cities - GulfToday

World Cup frenzy turns violent in football-crazy Kerala cities


Football fans in Kochi, Kerala, celebrate Argentina's victory in the World Cup final match between Argentina and France in Doha, Qatar, on Sunday. AP

Ashraf Padanna, Correspondent

The celebrations after Argentina’s victory over France in the Fifa World Cup finals in Doha on Sunday turned violent in many places in the football-crazy Kerala overnight.

Police officers were attacked in the state capital, in Kochi and Thalassery and four men sustained stab injuries in the northern city of Kannur.

The sub-inspector of Pozhiyoor police station here suffered injuries while trying to control a drunken group of fans creating problems for residents. They beat, kicked and dragged the officer on the floor. He sustained head and arm injuries. The attackers are in custody.

A video of a group of men attacking a policeman and dragging him on the road by his leg in the port city of Kochi went viral triggering outrage. They attacked him as he asked them not to block the road during their celebrations before the metro station in Kaloor past midnight.

The police said they had booked six people in Kannur after they allegedly stabbed Anurag, 24, who was returning home after watching the match on a makeshift screen.

Keralafans-Argentina People in Kochi, watch on a big screen the World Cup final match between Argentina and France in Qatar. AP

A fight broke out after the screening of the match near the Palliyamoola Nethaji Arts and Sports Club, which organised the programme, leading to the stabbing incident. The feud between two groups of people was simmering after Croatia beat Brazil, the hot favourites of Kerala fans along with Argentina.

While Anurag suffered critical injuries, his friends Alex, Adarsh and Nakul sustained minor wounds from the attack knives and blunt weapons.

The police said his friends were trying to protect Anurag when the gang attacked him and they all had been hospitalised. They were beaten on their head with a cricket stump. The police also booked several fans returning after public screenings of the match at several places for drunk driving and overspeeding.

Thousands of fans celebrated the Argentine victory by bursting firecrackers, dancing on the streets and screaming out of joy.

Flags of rival teams fluttered on the streets throughout the match which was beamed on makeshift public screens everywhere.

The fans crowded the East Fort and Vanchiyoor areas in the capital city wearing Argentina jerseys and the celebrations continued late into the night.

Television channels showed the celebrations on the streets of several towns, cities and villages of the southern state. In Thrissur, an Argentine fan hotelier kept his promise to serve 1,500 plates of free biryani if his favourite team win.

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