Nagpur: As India prepares for Border-Gavaskar Trophy starting on February 9, a video of India cricketers Mohammed Siraj and Umran Malik has gone viral on social media with Hindu right-wing users targeting the two Muslim fast bowlers for their choice.
At least four of the team members refuse to apply tilak on their forehead in a hotel reception in Nagpur ahead of the four-match Test series against Australia. But the right-wing attack was focused on the Muslim duo.
In a Video, viral on social media, the two fast bowlers Mohammad Siraj and Umran Malik can be seen saying no to the tilak politely as they get inside the hotel. The video was shot when the players, preparing ahead of the Border Gavaskar series against Australia, checked into the Radisson Blu hotel in Nagpur ahead of the first Test on 9 February
The two were seen acknowledging the hotel staff but gestured with their hands that they didn’t want the red mark on their foreheads.
Vikram Rathour who is the batting coach of the Indian cricket team and sports staff member Hari Prasad Mohan, also refused the tilak but the online attack was launched only on Siraj and Malik.
However, many have come in Siraj and Malik’s defense pointing out that their action does not insult any religion or hurt any sentiment.
Right-wing news channel Sudarshan TV’s editor-in-chief Suresh Chavhanke tweeted the video with the hashtag ‘jago’ which means wake up.
“Mohammad Siraj and Umran Malik did not get tika applied on their foreheads at the reception. He is a player of the Indian team, not Pakistan. Even after becoming an international cricketer, he is staunch towards his religion. #Jago,” he tweeted.
Arun Yadav, a hard-line Hindutva worker and an ardent fan of Chavhanke tweeted the video by saying, “Some puncture mark celebrities don’t get vaccinated because they are fanatic about their religion even after reaching that level. But we don’t miss wearing cap and offering sheet.”
Pertinent to mention that Chavhanke is notorious for his communally-charged remarks and misinformation campaigns particularly in blaming the Muslim community of India.