Indian minority cricketer trolled online after Pakistan defeat
A torrent of online abuse hit Indian cricketer Arshdeep Singh on Monday after losing a hold against Pakistan, with much of the vitriol centering on the fact that he is from the Sikh minority.
Singh missed an easy but crucial chance in the closing stages of Sunday’s dramatic Asian Cup clash of great rivals won by Pakistan in Dubai in the final – when the 23-year-old was the starter.
Singh’s Wikipedia entry was briefly edited to link him to the Sikh separatist movement in Khalistan, which reportedly prompted the government to summon leaders of the open-access online encyclopedia.
“He’s a Khalistani and he has secret ties to Pakistan,” one Twitter user said. “Arshdeep Singh took money as an agent of Khalistan,” wrote another.
After the game, India’s star player Virat Kohli backed Singh, saying “anyone can make a mistake”. The hashtag #IndiaWithArshdeep, supporting the young player, was trending on Twitter.
This is not the first time that cricketers from India’s Hindu-majority religious minorities have faced such attacks.
Last year, Muslim player Mohammed Shami became the target of abuse after India were beaten by Pakistan at the T20 World Cup.
Thousands of hate messages have flooded social media, including Shami’s Instagram account, calling him a traitor and alleging he took money to launch the game.
Kohli, then captain of India, also vigorously backed Shami, saying, “Attacking someone for their religion is the most pathetic thing a human being can do.”
Sunday’s Super Four match was the second time India and Pakistan have faced each other in the ongoing Asian Cup. India won the first game and could find themselves in the final on Sunday.