The Indian pacer, who grabbed four Australian wickets in the first innings, was heckled by Hindutva zealots who chanted “Shami, Jai Shri Ram” and other religious slogans as players huddled near the dugout after the day’s play
AHMEDABAD – In India, cricket is widely regarded as a religion. But what happened on Saturday during the ongoing fourth Test match between India and Australia indicates that the BJP and RSS-induced Hindutva bigotry has deepened roots. This profound polarisation, without any doubt, does not augur well for the secular and pluralistic fabric of the country.
Muhammad Shami, the Indian pacer who grabbed four Australian wickets in the first innings, was heckled by Hindutva zealots who chanted “Shami, Jai Shri Ram” and other religious slogans as the players huddled near the dugout after the day’s play. They initially could be heard shouting ‘Surya.’ The fans then proceeded to chant “Jai Shri Ram,” while one hollered at Shami. The fast bowler has been subjected to massive trolling in the past too. The player kept his cool and did not respond to the heckling on Saturday.
The video of the obnoxious incident has gone viral and netizens appeared divided on the issue. While many condemned the chanting, others retorted with ‘what if it was Allah-o-Akbar?’ One user dubbed the hecklers as ‘paid crowd,’ bought by BJP. The political party is reported to have bought over 80 per cent of the tickets of the Test match.
Few users critiqued fans supporting Shami as ‘Hinduphobic.’ One user took a jibe on the incident as ‘Gujarat Model’ where we heckle our own player to create communal tension. Another user wrote this is a cricket match and not a rath yatra. Responding to the ‘rath yatra’ comment, another user remarked that this cricket match commenced with the ‘rath yatra’ of a person who’s selling communal hatred. ‘It used to be a gentle greeting,’ lamented one user, stating how it has become scarier in recent times.
Not long ago, young Indian fast bowler, Arshdeep Singh, was heavily trolled and dubbed a Khalistani after Indian team lost to Pakistan in T20 Asia Cup match in Dubai. As Pakistan completed a narrow and thrilling win over India, a section of Indian fans launched a flurry of hate-filled, racist tweets directed at Singh.