March 25, 2007 / 8:30 AM / 13 years ago

Indian cricket fan commits suicide after defeat

KOLKATA, India (Reuters) - A cricket fan committed suicide while another died of a heart attack in India after watching their national team’s crushing defeat to Sri Lanka in the World Cup match in the Caribbean, police said on Sunday.

Upset over India’s loss and after having an argument with his wife, 25-year-old farmer Mahadeb Sarkar hung himself after the match in the village of Bajitpur in eastern state of West Bengal.

His wife, Sadhana, who was also upset about the defeat, tried to hang herself in another room, but she survived.

“While Mahadeb died instantly, the rope snapped in the other room and Sadhana fell in a heap, alarming her neighbours,” said local police officer Kuntal Chatterjee.

The couple had an argument because Sarkar had gone ahead with plans to watch the match at a friend’s house, while his wife had wanted him to stay home so they could watch the match together. In addition, they were upset over the defeat, police said.

Winners in 1983 and finalists in the last tournament, India suffered a 69-run defeat in their crunch Group B match against Sri Lanka and their slim hopes of progressing now hinge on an unlikely defeat for Bangladesh by debutants Bermuda on Sunday.

In another incident, a 28-year-old man had a heart attack after watching the match at his home in a suburb of Hyderabad, the state capital of the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

“Raju was found unconscious in front of the television in the early hours of Saturday and pronounced dead at the hospital,” said Hyderabad’s police commissioner Balwinder Singh.

His family said Raju, a die-hard fan of the cricket team, had suffered the heart attack because of the defeat on Friday.

Cricket is taken very seriously in India, where players are treated as huge celebrities, paid big money to endorse major commercial brands and put on pedestals by cricket-crazy fans.

Hundreds of angry cricket fans took to the streets on Saturday burning effigies, defacing posters and held mock funeral processions of the national team after the defeat.

Additional reporting by S. Radha Kumar

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