Sikhs hurt by Sidhu bouncer
His high-pitched and colourful outbursts on cricket often bowl over television viewers, but a new bouncer from former player Navjot Singh Sidhu's has snowballed into a controversy.
Sidhu has been accused of hurting the religious sentiments of the "bhapa"
section of the Sikh community by referring to them as "outcasts," The Indian
Express newspaper reported.
A Sikh himself, Sidhu was asked by commentator Harsha Bhogle during a June
23 cricket telecast why he never wore multicoloured turbans. To which he
replied, "Only bhapas wear multicoloured turbans... who are outcast in the Sikh
It irked Punjab resident Harpal Singh Kohli enough to file a court complaint,
alleging that Sidhu -- a Jat Sikh -- made the comment with malicious intent
to insult the Khatri Sikh community, which is referred to derogatorily as
Kohli said Sidhu hurt the religious feelings of his community and therefore
ought to be punished by law.
The former star batsman has, however, denied the charge, saying it was an
innocuous remark and he is prepared to apologise to Kohli and his community
"I never intended to hurt anybody's religious sentiments," Sidhu was quoted
as saying. "If I did say something to that effect I apologise. It may have
been on the spur of the moment."
"What I wished to convey was that normally Jat Sikhs don't wear
multicoloured turbans and that I would have to be a bhapa to wear that. I
didn't mean anything derogatory for anyone."
He also said he respected people's religious sentiments. "Maybe, it was a
lapse and if Mr. Harpal Singh Kohli wants, I can visit his place personally
and apologise to him. And to all those whom I must have offended."
Indo-Asian News Service