A video purportedly showing a man locking up supporters of the Indian football team in a bird cage ahead of a crucial match with the UAE has gone viral, prompting the UAE authorities to arrest several persons, media reports said. India lost the match against the hosts United Arab Emirates (UAE) 2-0 in the AFC Asian Cup in Abu Dhabi Thursday. In the viral video, the man, brandishing a stick, is seen sitting and talking to several workers locked up in a bird cage. He asks them who they support between the UAE and India, Khaleej Times reported. Upon replying that they support India, he tells them that are not good, they live in the UAE and should support it. After knocking on the wiring, he asks them again and they reply they support the UAE and he lets them out of the cage, the report said.
In the UAE, penalties for violation of the various provisions of the law include jail terms from six months to over 10 years, and fines from 50,000 to 2 million dirhams (USD 13,611 to USD 5.44 lakh), the report said. "The video allegedly shows a man who locked up several men of Asian nationality in a bird cage. They were supposed to cheer for the UAE national team in their match against India in the AFC Asian Cup," the UAE's Attorney General office said in a statement.
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"Legal action was taken, with reports submitted to the prosecutor's office. A warrant was issued for the man who made the video, and he was detained and brought in for questioning. "Not only is the act a criminal offence punishable by law in the UAE, it does not reflect the values of tolerance and respect. Discrimination is not acceptable, as we believe in equality of opportunity and meritocracy," the statement said.
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A statement has been released from the UAE Attorney General's office after an offensive video went viral on social media. Meanwhile, the owner of the viral video posted another clip on YouTube, saying he had done the entire "skit" as a joke. "These men are my workers, one of whom I've known for 22 years. I live with my men on this farm, we eat from the same plate. I did not beat them, nor did I truly 'lock' them up," he said, adding that this is the 'Year of Tolerance'. He requested people to understand his intentions.
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Gulf News reported that the Sharjah Police arrested several men after videos went viral, reflecting a picture of intolerable football fanaticism.