‘It’s an act of hope’: the fairytale rise of the Real Kashmir football team

For 90 minutes, while their team plays, people of the war-torn Indian region of Kashmir forget curfews and protests and enjoy normality

Before an away match, Mohammed Hammad used to call his mother in Srinagar in Indian-administered Kashmir and ask her to pray for the team, Real Kashmir, a football club in the city whose miraculous rise in three years has made football-mad Kashmiris proud.

On Saturday, the team was playing Goa FC at Kalyani stadium outside Kolkata for an important match but he didn’t call his mother. Or rather, he couldn’t.

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