Govt seeks Wikipedia response as Arshdeep called ‘Khalistani’ after India cricket defeat

The bowler received hate online after he dropped a catch in a match against Pakistan.

WrittenBy:NL Team
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The ministry of electronics and information technology has reportedly sought an explanation from Wikipedia on how Indian bowler Arshdeep Singh’s page was edited to reflect an association with Khalistan.

The bowler received hate online and was called a “Khalistani” after he dropped a catch in a cricket match, which team India eventually lost to Pakistan by five wickets at the Asia Cup tournament in Dubai on Monday.

The bowler’s Wikipedia page was edited too, with his country called "Khalistan Punjab" and his name changed to "Major Arshdeep Singh Bajwa". India was replaced with Khalistan several times across the article though these changes were soon struck off by Wikipedia editors.

Right-wing commentators on social media have alleged that these changes were made through IP addresses originating from Pakistan.

Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh has also come to the rescue of Arshdeep, saying no one drops catches purposely and the bowler should not be criticised. Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan and former Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez also took to Twitter to show their support. India batter Virat Kohli also came out in Arshdeep’s support at a press conference after the match. “Anyone can commit the mistake, the situation was tight. It was a high-pressure game and mistakes can happen.”

Update: This report and its headline had erroneously mentioned that Wikipedia representatives were summoned by the ministry. Newslaundry has now learnt that the ministry sought an explanation over email over modifications to Arshdeep’s page.

After team India’s loss at the Asia Cup match on Sunday, two other pages were similarly vandalised to allege links with Khalistan, but these entries seem to originate from India, unlike the changes on Arshdeep’s page which appear to have been made by a user in Pakistan.

The other pages vandalised were linked to former cricketer Harbhajan Singh and an Indian footballer named Arshdeep Singh. But in its email to Wikimedia Foundation, the ministry has not shared the location details of the Indian vandal. Apart from cricketer Arshdeep, the email did mention the namesake footballer, but it provided a link to a third homonymous footballer’s page.

A Newslaundry report has detailed the ministry action, the credibility of the location information, and the Wikimedia Foundation’s response.


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