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Jeakson Singh's Meitei flag raises eyebrows in SAFF victory ceremony

Jeakson Singh's gesture after India's SAFF triumph has put social media in a fix.

Jeakson Singhs Meitei flag raises eyebrows in SAFF victory ceremony

Jeakson Singh with the flag of Kangleipak or Salai Taret flag. (Screenshot/FanCode)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 5 July 2023 10:22 AM GMT

Indian midfielder Jeakson Singh carried a flag with seven colours during India's victory celebrations after beating Kuwait in the SAFF Championships final, raising many eyebrows.

The flag Jeakson wore on his back is the flag of Kangleipak, or the Salai Taret Flag. A rectangular seven-coloured flag, it represents the seven clan dynasties of the Meitei ethnicity of Ancient Manipur.

"By celebrating in the flag, I did not want to hurt the sentiments of anyone. I intended to bring notice to the issues that my home state, Manipur, is facing currently," the midfielder tweeted hours later.

The gesture by Jeakson comes in the wake of the ongoing violence in the state of Manipur between Meiteis and Kukis.

There were some angry reactions, who called for action against the 'secessionist' and 'unprofessional' act.

As noticed by many social media users, Jeakson can be seen carrying the flag while collecting the winning medals and then also in the subsequent celebrations.

Manipur has been engulfed in a state of violence since the start of May 2023 when clashes between two ethnic groups, Meiteia and Kukis, broke out.

However, Jeakson was not alone in his gesture. The Kangleipak flag also appeared beside an Indian flag hanging in the crowd.

Social media is divided on what Jeakson's gesture means. Some say it is an unnecessary political gesture on an international platform; some others claim it is an attempt to bring the country's attention to the ongoing crisis in Manipur.

Jeakson's gesture came after India defeated Kuwait on penalties to win SAFF Championships 2023 with a save by Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in sudden death after a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes. Substitutes Udanta Singh and Naorem Mahesh were the others from Manipur involved in the win.

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