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‘Silent on issues at home’: Indian team’s BLM tribute draws mixed reactions

What did you think about the Men In Blue's gesture?

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Moments before the much anticipated INDvPAK T20 World Cup match this past weekend, the Virat Kohli-led team displayed their support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement by taking the knee while the Pakistan team stood with their hands on their hearts.

“That was communicated to us by the management, the Pakistan team agreed to pay their tribute to the same cause. We accept our side of things and that was how it was decided,” Virat Kohli said in a response to an ANI post-match query.

However, the perhaps well-intentional gesture has drawn flak on social media for the players’ haunting silence on recent events, like the violence against the minority Hindu community in Bangladesh, and online abuse against Mohammed Shami (the only Muslim player in the Indian playing XI) who was called a “traitor” and “Pakistani” and blamed for the team’s loss.

Many Indians, including politician and former Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir Omar Abdullah, urged the Indian cricket team to stand up for their teammate.

READ ALSO: India V Pak T20 World Cup: India’s meek surrender is cause for concern

Others pointed out the hypocrisy of taking the knee in solidarity with BLM while turning a blind eye to important issues within the country.

READ ALSO: ‘Northeast Indians only visible when they wear a medal’

Even before the match, discontent had been stirring among many Indian cricket fans for playing against Pakistan in the wake of violence in Jammu & Kashmir, but the BCCI had clarified they could not back out.

Many felt taking the knee was a marketing ploy, picking and choosing their activism rather than using their massive social media platforms and celebrity status in India to make an important stand.

With recent events, including the terrible online abuse faced by Mohammed Shami, it seems the Indian cricket team’s activism must also look inward, addressing crucial issues faced by minorities within their own country, alongside their global activism.

What did you think about the team’s gesture? Let us know in the comments below!

READ ALSO: Black Lives Matter ignored at IPL: WI’s Jason Holder

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