Vandana Katariya On Casteist Abuse, Says ‘We Are Playing For County, Casteist Remarks Should Not Happen’

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While Vandana Katariya was giving her best performance on the Indian Women’s Hockey Team at the Tokyo Olympics, her family was being abused and mocked for losing the semi finals.

Recently, on the 4th of August, a group of upper caste people in Haridwar, burts crackers, danced outside the house of Vandana Katariya. The group of youths of the Haridwar Locality, abused Ms. Katariya’s family and said, India lost the semi finals as there were too many Dalit players on the Indian Hockey Team.

Upon hearing the casteism abuses and slurs, Vandana Katariya felt bad and said, “Hum log country ke liye khel rahe hai .. aur jo bhi kuch bhi ho raha hai, uske liye kuch bhi na kare, like ‘caste-ing baazi’ jo maine thoda sa suna tha, woh sab na ho.”

(We all are playing for the country, and whatever is happening, shouldn’t happen, like casteist comments. Whatever little I have heard about it, don’t do that.)

Vandana Katariya further added, “Sirf hockey ke baare mein soche, aur young girls hain, aur hum log country ke liye he khel rahe hain, toh hum sab ko ek hona chahiye, matlab har cheez ko. (Only think about hockey, there are young girls, we are playing for the country, so we have to be one, I mean in every aspect.)” Her statement came after the Indian Women’s Hockey team lost against Britain in a match for a Bronze Medal. Though team India lost the match, Vandana Katariya’s and team India’s performance was historic with a score of 4-3.

When asked about the incident, Vandana Katariya said, “I have kept my phone switched off from the time I have come here so I haven’t spoken to anyone. When I speak to them (parents) about it, I’ll make comments about this incident. Just that we are all playing for the country.”

The incident with her family in Haridwar took place on the 4th of August, after India lost to Argentina in the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics. Soon after the incident, Ms. Vandana’s brother Chandra Shekhar filed a police complaint against a group of youths in their locality in Haridwar. He said, the group of upper caste youths were bursting crackers, dancing in celebration and passing casteist remarks.

In a statement , Chandra Shekhar said, “They said how can people of my caste play in the national team? Our family is in a state of fear because the youths also threatened to kill us. We have filed a complaint narrating the entire incident.”

Acting upon the complaint, the police filed a first information report (FIR) against the youths. On the 5th of August, the police arrested the main accused identified as Vijay Pal. He has been arrested under Section 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) Act.

Besides Vijay Pal, Ankur Pal, Sumit Chauhan and other unidentified persons were also reported as accused with the Sidcul police station.

Stay tuned for further updates.

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