Indian men’s football team captain Sunil Chhetri was subjected to racism during his Instagram live chat with Indian men’s cricket team captain Virat Kohli on Sunday.
Chhetri, who has been hosting his show ElevenonTen during the coronavirus lockdown, was referred to as a ‘Nepali’ by a user who commented the same during the live chat.
The user ‘yasharma.official’ commented on the live chat, “Ye Nepali kon hai (Who is this Nepali).”
The screenshot was put on Twitter by a user ‘Abhinav kaka’, who condemned the act and said, “India is one of the most racist country. The Indian football captain is called Nepali can only imagine the plight of North East people here. People not knowing Chhetri is still fine. But society has sort of normalised chinki, Nepali etc towards them. It’s shameful.”
India is one of the most racist country.— Abhinav kaka (@kabhinav08) May 18, 2020
The Indian football captain is called Nepali can only imagine the plight of North East people here. People not knowing Chhetri is still fine. But society has sort of normalised chinki, Nepali etc towards them.
It's shameful. pic.twitter.com/m8v14kOrTu
While the post received response in terms of retweets and likes and a user also commented saying he has reported the guy as “nobody undermines Sunil Chhetri”, what came across as more problematic was another user’s comment on the post.
‘@PrachurjyaBarm1’ said that the comment on Instagram live was not racist as he didn’t make fun of his race.
“Nepali ko Nepali na bole to kya bole? Aur ye racist kaha se hua?usene toh uski race ko Sunil cherry ke race se upar nahi dikhaya ya uska mazak bhi nahin uraya,” he commented.
Chhetri’s father played football for the Indian Army team while his mother and her twin sisters played for the Nepalese women’s football team. Chhetri was born in Secunderabad, India.
While racism is a common problem in India, the spread of coronavirus has only intensified the problem. With the virus originating from China, people from the North East, who are often racially abused for their facial resemblance to the Chinese, have faced intense scrutiny in these difficult times from their fellow countrymen.
When news reports of people from the North East being bullied came to the front, Chhetri had even come out to strongly condemn the act.
Speaking to The Quint, Chhetri had described the incidents of racism being reported as “shameful” and “a disgrace”.
“The people who are doing it, and who understand the difference, are just ignorant. It’s just not right. You shouldn’t do it,” Chhetri had said.
The ace footballer had asked people to imagine the virus originating from a place where people looked like them or their region. “Let’s suppose you are working in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam or Sikkim, and people hound you or bully you or trouble you. How will you feel?”