‘Are all lives not equal?’: Usman Khawaja on bizarre ICC threat amidst Gaza massacre

News Network
December 13, 2023

 

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'Australia batter Usman Khawaja became a big talking point on social media after pictures of his shoes with a pro-humanity and pro-equality slogan surfaced on social media.

Khawaja was reportedly planning to wear the shoe with the same message on Day 1 of the first Test against Pakistan in Perth, but was warned against doing so over 'ICC rules'. While Khawaja has accepted the directive, he maintains that the message written on his shoe wasn't political.

On one of Khawaja's shoes, the message read: "All lives are equal", while the other one read, "Freedom is a human right". But, had the veteran batter decided to wear the same messages in the match, he could've been suspended by ICC.

In a video that he shared on social media on the eve of the Perth Test, Khawaja stood his ground and said that he isn't taking sides in the Israel vs Hamas war but is only suggesting that all lives are equally important to him, be it that of a person Muslim, Jew or Hindu.

"What I've written on my shoes is not political," he said. "I'm not taking sides. Human life to me is equal. One Jewish life is equal to one Muslim life is equal to one Hindu life and so on. I'm just speaking up for those who don't have a voice."

Despite the word of caution from Cricket Australia, Khawaja also said that he would continue to fight for his right to express these views. "Is freedom not for everyone? Are all lives not equal?", Khawaja asked in the video.

"The ICC has told me I can't wear my shoes on the field because they feel it's a political statement under their guidelines," he said. "I don't believe it's so. It's a humanitarian appeal. I will respect their view and decision. But I will fight it and seek to gain approval," he said in the video.

"Freedom is a human right. And all lives are equal. I will never stop believing that, whether you agree with me or not," he also said.

Earlier, Australia skipper Pat Cummins had confirmed that Khawaja would not wear the statements, that he did in training, in the match against Pakistan on Thursday.

"I spoke to him just quickly and [Khawaja] said he won't be [wearing the statements]," Cummins said. "It kind of drew the attention to the ICC rules which I don't know if Uzzie was across beforehand. Uzzie doesn't want to make too big of a fuss. On his shoes, he had 'all lives are equal'. I think that's not very divisive. I don't think anyone can really have too many complaints about that.

"I think it's one of our strongest points in our team is that everyone has their own passionate views and individual thoughts and I chatted to Uzzie briefly about it today. And I don't think his intention is to make too big of a fuss, but we support him.

"I think what was on the shoes, 'all lives are equal', I support that."

Through his message, Khawaja is hoping to send a message to mankind against massacre of innocents in Palestine, even though he did not specifically mentioned about brutal Israeli aggression. 

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News Network
February 26,2024

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Bengaluru: A professor of Indian origin at the University of Westminster in the United Kingdom who was invited by the Karnataka Government to attend an event here was denied entry when she landed at Bengaluru airport and was then deported, according to her posts on social media platform X. 

Professor Nitasha Kaul, a Kashmiri Pandit academic based in London, in a series of posts on X claimed she was given no reason by immigration officials at Bengaluru airport and received no notice or information in advance from the Indian government that she would not be allowed to enter the country.

There was no immediate comment from the Karnataka government, which had organised a two day 'Constitution and National Unity Convention -2024' on February 24 and 25, to which Kaul was invited as a speaker.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), the Kashmiri Pandit academic based in London wrote, “Denied entry to #India for speaking on democratic & constitutional values. I was invited to a conference as esteemed delegate by Govt of #Karnataka (Congress-ruled state) but Centre refused me entry. All my documents were valid & current (UK passport & OCI)."

Kaul claimed that she was given no reason by immigration officials at Bengaluru airport and received no notice or information in advance from the Narendra Modi-led Indian government that she would not be allowed to enter the country.

“I spent 12 hours in a flight from London to Bangalore, several hours at immig where they shuttled me here & there, provided no info on process, then 24 hours in a holding cell (no BA flight back until next day) under direct cctv w restricted movement, a narrow area to lie down," she said.

“…and no easy access to food and water, made dozens of calls to airport for basic things as a pillow and blanket, which they refused to provide, then 12 hours on the flight back to London," she added. 

Reacting to the development, the Karnataka BJP was quick to label the professor an "anti-India element" and a part of what it called a 'Break India Brigade', criticizing the Karnataka Government and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for extending an invitation to Kaul. 

The BJP also went on to label Kaul a "Pakistani sympathiser" and posted headings of a couple of her writings on X. 

The saffron party claimed the Congress government was "threatening the unity & integrity of India" by extending an invitation to the Kashmiri Pandit professor -- who has written and spoken extensively on Kashmir, Bhutan, and other topics.

The BJP used the opportunity to claim that the Congress is "now using Karnataka as its laboratory to prepare the ground for its divisive agendas". "Thanks to our security agencies, one such anti-India element was caught suspiciously entering India and detained at the airport", it further said.  

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News Network
February 27,2024

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Bengaluru: An FIR has been registered against the JD(S) leader contesting the Rajya Sabha elections in Karnataka, D Kupendra Reddy, and his aides at the Vidhana Soudha police station in Bengaluru, former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy said on Tuesday.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah too confirmed that an FIR has been registered for 'threatening' the Congress MLAs in connection with the Rajya Sabha elections.

“The Congress leaders not only spoke about allurement and threat to their MLAs time and again but also registered an FIR against Kupendra Reddy and his aides,” the JD(S) second-in-command told reporters here.

Kumaraswamy said the complainant MLA did not say that he was lured, but that some other MLAs were 'approached'.

“Melukote MLA Darshan Puttannaiah of Karnataka Sarvodaya Paksha too had said that it’s true that his vote was sought but no one had lured him,” the JD(S) state chief claimed.

Kumaraswamy also said the BJP and JD(S) had decided that the votes of its 19 JD(S) MLAs and the additional BJP votes after its first preferential votes would go to Kupendra Reddy.

Siddaramaiah slammed the Janata Dal (Secular) for allegedly trying to lure Congress legislators to get its candidate Kupendra Reddy elected.

“JDS needs 45 votes (for their candidate) to win. Do they have that many votes? Even though they don’t have enough votes, they still fielded the candidate and are luring our MLAs. Do they have a conscience?” the chief minister asked rhetorically, posting on social media platform X.

“An FIR has been lodged regarding the threat to us. Our three candidates will win. There is no doubt about this,” Siddaramaiah insisted, without elaborating who, the FIR is against and where it has been registered.

Speaking to reporters at Vidhana Soudha here, Siddaramaiah slammed the minor partner in the opposition alliance, saying, “When JD(S) does not have ‘atma’ (soul), how can it have ‘atma sakshi’ (conscience)? They call themselves Janata Dal (Secular) but whom did they join with?”

He was referring to the JD(S) forming an alliance with the BJP.

The chief minister did not rule out the possibility of gaining votes from the rival camp saying the good works of his government may draw votes from the other side.

On the JD(S) allegations that the Congress had approached its party MLAs, Siddaramaiah said when the Congress has sufficient number of MLAs, there is no need to lure legislators from the opposition.

Voting is under way for four Rajya Sabha seats in Karnataka. The ruling Congress has fielded former union minister and Congress treasurer Ajay Maken and sitting Rajya Sabha members G C Chandrashekhar and Syed Naseer Hussain.

The BJP has fielded Narayansa Bhandage and also JD(S) leader Kupendra Reddy as the NDA candidate.

The Congress has 133 MLAs, excluding the Speaker, while the BJP and JD(S) have 66 and 19 legislators respectively, in the 223-member House. Others account for four. However, one Congress MLA died on Sunday.

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News Network
February 27,2024

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All-rounders Tanush Kotian and Tushar Deshpande on Tuesday broke a 1946 record after scoring centuries batting at No 10 and No 11 in the same innings.

During the quarterfinal match against Baroda at the BKC Ground in Mumbai, Kotian and Deshpande formed the second-highest partnership for the tenth wicket in the history of the Ranji Trophy. 

They joined an elite list, becoming only the second pair in First-Class cricket history to achieve centuries while batting at No. 10 and No. 11 in the same innings, following Chandu Sarwate and Shute Banerjee's accomplishment in 1946 during a match between Surrey and Indians at the Oval.

Although their partnership of 232 runs fell just shy of the record set by Ajay Sharma and Maninder Singh for Delhi against Mumbai in the 1991-92 season, who made 233 runs, it was nonetheless a remarkable achievement.

Batting together in Mumbai's second innings with an overnight score of 337/9, Kotian reached his century in 115 deliveries, while Deshpande followed suit with a remarkable century off 112 balls, becoming Mumbai's first number 11 player to achieve this milestone.

Deshpande's innings concluded at 123 runs, dismissed by Ninad Rathva, as Mumbai amassed a formidable total of 569 runs, setting Baroda a daunting target of 606 runs.

Udupi origin

Tanush Kotian’s parents Karunakar Kotian and Mallika Kotian hail from Pangala in Udupi district of coastal Karnataka. However, Tanush was born and brought up in Mumbai’s in Chembur as his parents had migrated to Maharashtra. 

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