Former India speedster Irfan Pathan on Wednesday defended his tweet over the violence at Jamia Millia Islamia on Sunday where violent clashes between the students and police broke out over the Citizens Amendment Act.
Pathan, who was part of India’s T20 World Cup winning team in 2007, had tweeted: “Political blame game will go on forever but I and our country is concerned about the students of #JamiaMilia #JamiaProtest”.
On Wednesday, he penned an article for Indian Express stating criticisms for his tweet were uncalled for and that he doesn’t need anyone’s permission to speak his mind in his country.
“Let me start with a personal story. When I went to Pakistan in 2004 for the Friendship tour, I went to a college in Lahore along with Rahul Dravid, L Balaji, and Parthiv Patel. In a question-and-answer segment attended by 1,500 students, one girl got up and asked, almost in anger: Why do you play for India despite being a Muslim? I stood up and said I am not doing any favours (ehsaan) by playing for India. It’s my country, and I am lucky, proud and honoured to represent it. It’s my mulk, my country, a place where my ancestors all come from. Everyone in that college clapped,” he wrote.
""If I can speak like that in Pakistan, in an open gathering, puffing out my chest, then I don’t need anyone’s permission in my own country to say what I feel."" - Irfan Pathan, Former India cricketer
"I have represented my country. Some people should realise that. When I ran in to bowl for India, I didn’t think I am a Muslim. I am an Indian first before anything else.”
He further went on to add that there was nothing wrong in supporting students as they were the future of the country and if they had done something wrong, there are peaceful measures to help them get back on the right track.
“I have earned my money with honesty and hard work. If someone says I have tweeted even one word of hate ever, I will leave social media now.”
“Aren’t the Jamia kids ours? Aren’t the IIM kids ours? Aren’t the Northeast kids ours? Aren’t the kids from Kashmir and Gujarat ours? All of them are our kids. I saw some videos, images, visuals from media and from Twitter. I kept checking the facts, over and over again. Then I decided that it’s a right way to express my concerns about the students. Whether they are from Jamia or from IIM or any others, they are the future, the ones that will take our country forward,” he added.
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