People Need to Rise Above Casteism: Women's Hockey Team Captain Rani Rampal
I just want to tell people to stop doing all these things - religious attacks, casteism. It is shameful: Rani Rampal
Indian women's hockey team captain Rani Rampal on Saturday called the casteist slurs hurled at India forward Vandana Katariya's family after the team's semi-final loss to Argentina on Wednesday a 'shameful act'.
"We give it our all, sacrifice a lot, struggle a lot to represent our country. However, when we see that this is what is happening to our respective families back home, for example, what happened to Vandana's family...I just want to tell people to stop doing all these things - religious attacks, casteism," Rani Rampal said during a virtual press conference on Saturday.
"Our team works together and is above all such things. We belong to different religions. Some are Hindu; some are Muslim; some are Sikhs. We come from different parts of the country. Some come from the North, some from the East and South. When we play at this level, we only look at the fact that we are playing for India. We work for that Indian flag. We give our blood, sweat and tears for that flag," she added.
I just want to tell people to stop doing all these things - religious attacks, casteism. It is shameful when we see that there are people like this out there.Rani Rampal, Indian Women's Hockey Team Captain
Despite the hockey team's historic performance in the Olympics, Katariya's family was subjected to casteist slurs after the team failed to win their semi-final match against Argentina. Two men had also burst crackers outside Katariya's house in Haridwar hours after the team's loss. They even mocked them and said that the team did not win because it had 'too many Dalit players'.
"It is shameful when we see that there are people like this out there. However, there are a lot of nice people in our huge country as well who have given us a lot of love and respect. Even though we did not win a medal, I have never felt such love and respect in my long career...from the people, the country, all the love, respect, praise... this is happening for the first time. I am seeing this for the first time," Rampal said.
"We need to learn from such people and realise that there are such beautiful people out there as well. If we want to make India a sporting nation, then we need to stand together. The players alone or organisations alone can't make India a sporting nation."
"Their behaviour was wrong. It should not have happened. I hope they got a lesson for the future that you should not behave like that with any player or any other person," she said.
On Thursday, 5 August, the police had arrested Vijaypal, the prime accused in the case. As per a statement from the Haridwar Police, an FIR under IPC Sections 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and SC/ST Act was lodged against three persons Vijay Pal, Ankur Pal and Sumit Chauhan and other unidentified persons at Sidcul police station.
While speaking to The Indian Express on Thursday, Vandana Katariya asked people to stop making casteist comments.
"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 had told The Indian Express on Thursday.
"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.)," she added.
Her brother Chandra Shekhar had also spoken to the newspaper and said that the family is in a state of fear.
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