Cricketer Yashpal Sharma, who was part of the team that won the first World Cup for India in 1983 and was known as ‘Mr Consistent’ passed away following a cardiac arrest on 13 July. His teammates and other cricketers have since been sharing posts and anecdotes remembering the time spent with him.
An ever-smiling man, most know Sharma as a jovial, modest, helpful and humble man, however, very few know that he was equally gutsy.
In a report on the late cricketer, The Times of India mentions that Sharma along with Chetan Chauhan had come to the rescue of three Sikh players of the North Zone team during the 1984 riots.
The players had to take a train journey right amidst the riots when Sharma asked Navjot Sidhu, Yograj Singh and Rajinder Ghai to hide in his compartment.
Sarkar Talwar, another cricket player while narrating the incident of the four-day train journey from Pune to Delhi after the cancellation of a match said, “I remember Navjot was very scared. Chetan Ji ensured Yograj and Ghai were safe and not spotted by the mob. He showed tremendous guts in a situation that left most of us unnerved.”
Sharma and Chauhan also confronted a violent mob and shielded the Sikh players, keeping them away from the eyes of the mob.
Cricketer Navjot Singh Sindhu after quitting the Bhartiya Janta Party had joined Congress in 2017. Since then he has been a loyalist and was in the news lately for his meeting with Priyanka Gandhi.
Reports suggest that Sidhu may become the next Punjab Congress chief just ahead of the Punjab state assembly elections.
Meanwhile, Yograj Singh- father of ex-cricketer Yuvraj Singh, has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Singh who actively participated in the ongoing farmer protests had made extremely derogatory remarks against Hindus and Hindu women.
In a video that went viral, Yograj Singh was heard saying “Yeh woh log hai jinhone hamare saath gaddari ki hai, yeh woh kaum hai jinhone hazaron saal gulami ki 5000, 7000 saal” roughly translated as (these are those people who have betrayed us, this community has been slaves for thousands of years).
This was, however, not where he stopped. Yograj Singh humiliated Hindu women by saying “Inki aurate take-take ke bhaw bikti thi” (their women were sold for two cents). When their women and daughters were abducted by people like Ahmed Shah Durrani and sold off for a paltry sum, it was we Sikhs who saved them, said Singh.
Though Yograj Singh does not explicitly mention Hindus in the videos, it is clear from the speech that it is what he meant.
Yograj Singh went on to target PM Modi and HM Amit Shah for being Gujaratis. He said he had spent 15 years with Gujaratis in Mumbai. “These people would take a u-turn even if they swore on their mothers, sisters, and daughters,” he said.
Making an absolute mockery of the situation and probably forgetting all about the 1984 riots Yograj urged the farmers to raise another Bhindranwale amongst themselves. “Every person here is a ‘Jarnail.’ If you want to save Punjab, ensure that power is in your hands. If the power is in your hand, you will see a new sun rising from the land of Punjab,” he said.
About the 1984 riots
The role of Congress in the 1984 riots is not unknown. In fact, Rajiv Gandhi after the assassination of his mother had justified the riots. On 19th November 1984, while giving a speech in front of thousands of people, then-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi said, “Jab bhi koi bada ped girta hai, to dharti thodi hilti hai. (When a big tree falls, the earth shakes.)”
Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was a prominent Congress leader in 1984, and he was sentenced in the murder case of five members of a Sikh family. He was one of the main accused of the anti-Sikh riots, was sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the riots in 2018 by the Delhi High Court.
In 2019, the Ministry of Home Affairs reopened a case against senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Kamal Nath for his role in the riots. Kamal Nath had allegedly incited a mob against Sikhs at Gurudwara Rakabganj in Delhi on 31st October 1984, soon after Indira’s assassination. As per the reports, two witnesses came forward to depose against him.