Former India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar has asked students protesting against the amended Citizenship Act to return to their classrooms. His comments have evoked angry reactions from Twitterati with many calling him spineless.
Delivering the 26th Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial Lecture in Delhi, Gavaskar said, “The country is in turmoil. Some of our youngsters are out on the streets instead of being in their classrooms, and some of them are ending up in hospitals for being out on the streets.”
Gavaskar added, “The majority are in the classrooms, trying to forge a career and to build and take India forward. We as a nation can go high only when we are all together; when each one of us has to be simply Indian first and foremost. That is what the game taught us — that we win when we pull together as one.”
Later speaking to reporters, the former India captain said that he wanted students ‘to head back to the classrooms.’ He said, “Class mein jaiyein, kyunki wohi aapki main duty hai. Aap university gaye, padhai ke liye gaye hai, padhai kariye (Go back to classrooms because that’s what your main duty is. You’ve gone to the university to study. So study.)”
#WATCH Sunil Gavaskar: Country is in turmoil. Some of our youngsters are out in streets instead of being in classrooms&some of them are ending up in hospitals for being out on streets. Admittedly, majority is still in classrooms trying to forge career&to build&take India forward. pic.twitter.com/4Er3jGoqf2
— ANI (@ANI) January 11, 2020
Gavaskar said that India had overcome several crises in the past and the country will once again emerge as united.
No sooner did the video of Gavaskar’s speech emerge on social media, the legendary batsman began to face incessant trolling on Twitter for his advice to students to call off their protests. Karti Chidambaram, son of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, wrote, “I consider Gavaskar a cricketing legend. An all-time great. But to use a cricketing term, he is simply not reading this pitch well and is compelety misjudging the flight of the ball. The protests of the students is absolutely legitimate and needed.”
I consider Gavaskar a cricketing legend. An all-time great. But to use a cricketing term, he is simply not reading this pitch well and is compelety misjudging the flight of the ball. The protests of the students is absolutely legitimate and needed. https://t.co/Dc0yyQsEat
— Karti P Chidambaram (@KartiPC) January 11, 2020
Similar criticism followed other social media users:
Gavaskar never had a spine. Proves it all over again. https://t.co/bwhuxVzkuR
— RadhakrishnanRK (@RKRadhakrishn) January 12, 2020
Its a clever statement of Mr. Gavaskar
He said I quote “Country is in turmoil”
He never felt it before when 48,786 riots took place since 1948.
— Abhisek (@a_bhakat) January 12, 2020
Mr Gavaskar says “students should be in classrooms & build careers to take India ahead”
What ‘India will be left’ if its Constitutional values are eroded?
I have more respect for those agitating students & women of Shaheen Bagh then these tone-deaf, privileged, govt mouthpieces https://t.co/gUeJxrD72D
— Chirpy Says (@IndianPrism) January 11, 2020
Well Gavaskar was only good with the bat, never with the ball, he proves it get again.
— The Solitary Shrink (@Lakshmi_Sreeni) January 12, 2020
Students across the country have been protesting against the central government’s decision amended Citizenship Act, which provides automatic citizenship to illegal immigrants except Muslims living in India. Analysts say that the act will render crores of Muslims stateless in their own country once the Centre’s Narendra Modi government announces the rollout of the NRC.