Arshdeep Singh

The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on Monday summoned executives of the Wikipedia, an online open-source information provider, for linking cricketer Arshdeep Singh to the separatist Khalistan movement on a page published on the website.

According to sources, the edit history of Singh’s Wikipedia page shows that an unregistered user had replaced the words “India” with “Khalistan” at several places on his profile. However, Wikipedia editors made the course correction within 15 minutes by undoing these nefarious changes.

The Indian pacer became a target of vicious attacks from trolls on social media after Singh dropped a relatively easy catch in a high-voltage match between India and Pakistan on Sunday in UAE. The drop in the 18th over of the Super 4 Asia Cup clash between the two arch rivals turned the tide in favour of Pakistan, which won the match by five wickets in a thrilling finish.

In their 18th over, Pakistan needed 34 runs to win, with Khushdil Shah and Asif Ali batting. On the third delivery bowled by Ravi Bishnoi, a sweep shot by Ali sent the ball into the air. However, Singh dropped what was an easy catch. The pacer was then chosen to bowl the final over, but he could not defend the seven runs and Pakistan won the game. This led to social media trolls going berserk launching a vitriolic tirade against Singh.

However, the Twitter accounts targeting Singh are of Pakistan origin and apparently a handiwork of Pakistani propagandists and trolls. According to sources, the Centre believes that this disinformation campaign against the Indian cricketer from across the border is aimed at disturbing communal harmony in the country.

A high-level panel may question the executives of the online encyclopaedia portal and may also issue a show cause notice.

Meanwhile, former team captain Virat Kohli backed the young bowler saying that anyone could make mistakes in a high-pressure game. Several former cricketers condemned the vicious attacks on Singh. Fans also came out in support of the young Indian pacer.

Support also poured in from political quarters. Punjab Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer threw his weight behind the upcoming pace bowler. “Victory or defeat is given in-game. @arshdeepsinghh is an upcoming star who carved out a niche in a short span. Performed excellent against Pakistan. Regressive psyche to troll him on drop of just a catch. Arshdeep is future of Nation. Inspiration for youth. Hate has no place in sports,” said the minister in a tweet.

Hayer also spoke with Singh’s mother Baljit Kaur, who is in Dubai, over phone and assured her that the entire country stands firmly behind her cricketer son. He also said that he would personally welcome Singh when he returns to India after the tournament.