Katariya herself says playing for country, such remarks shouldn’t happen
NEW DELHI – Condemning the casteist slurs hurled at the family of her teammate Vandana Katariya back home in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, Indian women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal said whatever happened was shameful and called for end to discrimination on the basis of caste and religion.
“It’s such a bad thing which has happened. We work so hard to represent our country. Stop all these things like discriminating on religion, casteism because we work above all these things,” Rampal said during a virtual press conference from Tokyo on Saturday.
Defending Katariya, she further said that she and all her teammates were playing for their country and such incidents should not happen. “We come from different parts of India, follow different religions. But when we come here we work together for India. It’s so shameful when we see people indulging in such behaviour,”
The family of Katariya, who scored four goals during the Olympics, found itself at the receiving end of allegedly casteist slurs from few people in their neighbourhood in Haridwar after the team lost the semi-final clash against Argentina on Wednesday.
India finished fourth in the Games after going down to Great Britain 3-4 in an intensely fought bronze play-off.
Katariya on Friday told The Indian Express that she had heard about the incident but hadn’t spoken to her family yet. “I have kept my phone switched off since the time I came here so I haven’t spoken to anyone (in the family)… When I speak to them, I’ll comment on this incident,” she said.
Asked if she had any message for her family, the 26-year-old said: “Hum log country ke liye khel rahe hai… aur jo bhi kuch ho raha hai… like ‘caste-ing baazi’… jo maine thodasa suna tha, woh sab na ho. (We are playing for the country… and whatever is happening… like casteist comments… whatever little I have heard, shouldn’t happen).”
“Sirf hockey ke baare mein soche, aur young girls hain, aur hum log country ke liye khel rahe hain, toh hum sab ko ek hona chahiye, matlab har cheez ko. (Only think about hockey, there are young girls, we are playing for the country, so we have to be one, I mean in every aspect),” she said.
Back in Haridwar, police have filed an FIR against three persons, Vijay Pal, Ankur Pal and Sumit Chauhan, and other unidentified persons. Vijay Pal (25) and his brother Ankur Pal (21) have been arrested, reports The Indian Express.