Threats to Kohli’s family enrage Twitter

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Indian skipper Virat Kohli (left) plays with his daughter, Vamika. — Instagram/anushkasharma
Indian skipper Virat Kohli (left) plays with his daughter, Vamika. — Instagram/anushkasharma

Shameful threats to Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s family after he backed pacer Mohammed Shami have enraged Twitterati.

The pacer, who is India’s only Muslim player in the T20 World Cup squad, was subjected to unprecedented abuse on social media after India were beaten by Pakistan in their opening clash of the mega-event.

Many took to Twitter to lash out at Shami, labelling him a “traitor” and telling him to “go back to Pakistan”, even though Kohli himself had said that the entire team were outplayed by Pakistan.

A couple of days ago, the Indian skipper had defended Shami in a statement and called out “spineless” critics for bullying the fast bowler.

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“Here’s a good reason why we are playing on the field, and not a bunch of spineless people on social media that have no courage to actually speak to any individual in person,” Kohli had said.

Immediately after Kohli’s statement, online trolls had targeted the batsman’s 10-month-old daughter, Vamika, going as far as to issue rape threats.

Twitter reacted strongly.

“Everything is so ugly in India now. Kohli defended Shami in the morning, some mindless, sorry (expletive), of a troll gave rape threats to Vamika and now that Indian Team lost to NZ, both pro-Kohli and anti-Kohli factions have doubled down on this stupid debate,” said one Twitter user.

Another Twitter user, Nina Kaur, said she was “disgusted and horrified” to read about rape threats being sent to a 10-month-old and about general intolerance gripping India.

“I am disgusted & horrified to read Anushka Sharma, Virat Kohli’s 10-month-old daughter Vamika[,] getting rape threats — [over a] game of cricket & for standing up for Muslim team mate[.] @iamsrk boy Aryan bit of consumption & they want to lock him up. THIS IS INDIA FOR YOU I AM ASHAMED,” she tweeted, also making reference to the legal troubles faced by Indian film star Shahrukh Khan after his son was, according to some, wrongfully implicated in a drug possession charge.

Twitter account @BharatHussain was horrified, wondering what an infant’s fault could be for being subjected to such heinous abuse.

“I am one [of] the great fan[s] of Virat Kohli. After losing his second match, he is facing a lot of criticism. Criticism itself has a limited point, but what is the fault of his 9-month-daughter Vamika who is facing rape threats?” he wondered.

Twitter account @ResponsibleSane called on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take notice of the vile threats to Anushka and Kohli’s daughter.

Another Twitter user described it as the lowest level an individual can sink to.

“It has become a social pandemic in today’s world, which is so unfortunate and so sad to see because this is literally the lowest level of human potential that one can operate at. And that’s how I look at these people,” tweeted another.

India lost their second match of the T20 World Cup against New Zealand on Sunday. Following their defeat, the Indian cricket team, the BCCI and Kohli were heavily criticised for playing mediocre cricket. The team is now on the cusp of possibly being eliminated from the tournament. 

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