After T20 Loss to Pakistan, Trolls Target Shami, the Only Muslim Player of Team India

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Mohammad Shami. — File photo

Some retired cricketers express solidarity with him but his teammates maintain silence; he was one of 11 players who lost last night, not the only player on the field, reminds Omar Abdullah

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — Some cricket fans in India resorted to communal abuse targeting Mohammad Shami after Pakistan emphatically defeated India in a T20 World Cup encounter.

The 31-year-old player is the only Muslim in the current Indian team which played against Pakistan in Dubai on Sunday.

Screenshots of abusive comments made by users on instagram against Shami went viral on the internet which sparked outrage among people as the trolls linked his poor performance to his religion and made bizarre accusations of favouring Pakistan in the game. They said he was a “traitor” and should be thrown out of the Indian team.

Following this, Shami got support from politicians and cricketers who said they were shocked to see the attack on him.

Former all-rounder Irfan Pathan who represented India in all three formats of the game reacted sharply to the communal attacks on the fellow cricketer. “Even I was part of India vs Pakistan battles on the field where we have lost but never been told to go to Pakistan! I’m talking about (a) few years back,” he wrote on Twitter. “THIS CRAP NEEDS TO STOP.”

Legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar also defended Shami. “When we support Team India, we support every person who represents Team India,” he wrote on Twitter. “Mohammed Shami is a committed, world-class bowler. He had an off day like any other sportsperson can have. I stand behind Shami & Team India.”

Former opener Virender Sehwag also came out in support of the speedster saying he was shocked to see the online attack on Shami. “He is a champion and anyone who wears the India cap has India in their hearts far more than an online mob. With you Shami. Agle match mein dikado jalwa,” wrote Sehwag.

Notably, Sehwag’s tweet for Shami came after he courted controversy when he tweeted that some parts of the country were bursting firecrackers to celebrate Pakistan’s win. He asked why firecrackers are banned on Diwali, presumably forgetting that the reason behind the ban is to curb the rise in air pollution. The tweet drew flak as people said that a national hero was pitting Hindus against Muslims.

Former Indian cricketer and a member of Parliament Gautam Gambir also made similar remarks saying that people celebrating Pakistan’s win are not Indians.

“Those bursting crackers on Pak winning can’t be Indian! We stand by our boys! #Shameful,” he wrote on Twitter.

People called out Gambhir for the “hate tweet” saying he was wrong in telling people who they can support in the game of cricket.

However, team India spinner Yuzvendra Chahal came out to back Shami against haters. He wrote that he was proud of Shami.

Many asked that the current teammates should break their silence and speak up against the communal abuse directed at their teammate. Pertinently, the India vs Pakistan game began with Indian players ‘taking a knee’ to show their solidarity with the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.

Captain Virat Kohli said that the management asked the players to do ‘taking the knee’. People said that the gesture would look hollow unless the cricketers show concern on matters close to home, such as attacks on Muslims and Dalits.

“I found this ‘taking the knee’ morally corrupt,” said activist Kavita Krishnan. “Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the singing of the US national anthem to show that his country was not living up to its ideals. In our country these cricketers going should be taking a knee for Kashmir lives, Muslim lives.”

After the match ended, there were reports of attacks on Kashmiri students in Punjab where students from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana barged into the rooms of Kashmiri students and beat them up allegedly for cheering for Pakistan in the match.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah criticized those targeting Shami. He “was one of 11 players who lost last night, he wasn’t the only player on the field. Team India your BLM knee taking counts for nothing if you can’t stand up for your team mate who is being horribly abused & trolled on social media,” he tweeted.

Another politician who came in support of Shami was Lok Sabha MP and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi.

Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday asked BJP government at the Centre if it condemns those trolling Indian pacer Mohammad Shami on social media following India’s defeat at the hands of Pakistan in Sunday’s Twenty20 World Cup match, reports IANS.

Terming the trolling unfortunate and shameful, the Hyderabad MP said it shows how communalism, radicalisation, and hatred against Muslims has spread in the country.

 

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