Harbhajan Singh condemns Kamran Akmal’s comments on Sikh community as “absurd”; “childish”

| Updated: 12 June, 2024 8:33 pm IST
Harbhajan Singh condemns Pakistani cricketer Kamran Akmal over his comments on Sikh community. (Feature image by: Abhishek Rajput)

NEW DELHI: Former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh has strongly condemned the remarks made by former Pakistan cricketer Kamran Akmal about the Sikh community, calling them “absurd” and “childish.” Singh’s response came a day after Akmal issued an apology for his comments.

In an interview with media sources, Singh expressed his disapproval, stating, “This is a very absurd statement and a very childish act that only a ‘nalaayak’ person can do.” He emphasized that Kamran should refrain from making derogatory comments about any religion and highlighted the significant contributions of Sikhs throughout history. 

On June 10, Harbhajan Singh took to X (formerly Twitter) to criticize Akmal, saying, “Lakh di laanat tere Kamraan Akhmal. You should know the history of Sikhs before you open your filthy mouth. We Sikhs saved your mothers and sisters when they were abducted by invaders; the time invariably was 12 o’clock. Shame on you guys…. Have some gratitude.”

The controversy erupted during a thrilling India-Pakistan match, where Indian pacer Arshdeep Singh was tasked with bowling the final over. During a panel discussion on a media portal, Akmal made an insensitive joke, remarking, “Kuch bhi ho sakta hai… 12 baj gaye hai (Anything can happen. It is already 12).” Another panelist added, “Kisi Sikh ko nahi dena chaiye 12 baje over (No Sikh should be given the over when it is 12).”

Akmal, who is currently part of a Pakistani channel’s cricket panel for the ICC T20 World Cup, faced backlash as the video clip of his comments went viral. In response, Akmal posted an apology on X, stating, “I deeply regret my recent comments and sincerely apologize to @harbhajan_singh and the Sikh community. My words were inappropriate and disrespectful. I have the utmost respect for Sikhs all over the world and never intended to hurt anyone. I am truly sorry.”

Despite the racial remarks, Arshdeep Singh delivered an excellent last over, securing India’s victory in the match, which saw them defending a modest target of 120. Harbhajan Singh’s rebuke and the subsequent apology from Akmal underscore the importance of maintaining respect and sensitivity towards all communities in sports and public discourse.

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