-By Shweta Raj Kanwar
In what may be termed as a shameful incident that has left the state of Assam red faced, as reported by The New Indian Express, coach Darren Lehman has allegedly injured his hand by the stone, thrown by an unknown bystander when the Australian team was going back to its hotel after defeating India at the second T20 international in Guwahati’s Barsapara stadium on Tuesday. The incident that took place in the host state has evoked mass criticism from people of all fronts. The social media posts were filled with people from Assam condemning the incident and pointing out the security glitches of the management concerned that was totally unforgivable given the importance of the T20 international games. However, it has been clearly stated by other media houses and even Australian former spinner Brett Lee that no one was injured in the incident.
Speaking to TNT- The Northeast Today, a journalist from Assam, Shoubik Roy Choudhury informed that when he tried to get in touch with the bus authorities, it was informed that no rock was found in the bus and that the air pressure, that plays an important role in a Volvo bus may have been one reason that led to the cracking and subsequently breaking of the window glass.
But the above theory presented by the bus authorities does not seem to hold any ground as the crime has been accepted by Himabta Biswa Sarma and chief Minister Sarbanada Sonowal, while apologizing to the Australian team has ordered for a probe in to the issue.
However, it may be mentioned that this is the version of only the bus authorities. If we go by the tweet Australian cricketer Aaron Finch after the match, he says: “Pretty scary having a rock thrown through the team bus window on the way back to hotel!!”
Choudhury, however also goes on to state, “If we go by the news report of Republic TV, we see that Himanta Biswa Sarma has accepted the fault and also tendered an apology. This clearly indicates a huge lapse in the security measures. When some political personality passes through the streets in their convoy, security is deployed every 100 metres but in an event such as this of international stature, an incident of this sort has clearly put the state in shame”.
Social media was flooded by reactions from all sections of people condemning the attack and expressing their concern over the fact that how an irresponsible action by some goons have tarnished the image of the Northeast Indian state.
Zarir S Hussain, Managing Editor of NewsLive Assam posted on his Facebook wall as follows:
“I did a sit down interview with Brett Lee just now and through him I apologized to Team Australia on behalf of the people of Assam for the unfortunate incident of stone pelting on the team bus. Also on behalf of Assam requested him to urge Cricket Australia not to lodge any complaint as it might deprive Guwahati of getting an international cricket match in the future. Brett Lee on record accepted my apology and modestly said just for someone silly the entire cricket fans of Assam cannot be blamed. He also assured that Cricket Australia will surely not complaint and would rather shut down the incident as something done by some hooligans. And after accepting my apology and request Brett Lee gifted me a signed cricket bat as souvenir. I am humbled by his magnanimity.”
It may be mentioned that in the month of September, USA had issued a warning to its citizens planning to visit the state of Assam deeming the state as unsafe for tourists and lack of security measures. This incident seems to prove this advisory true to a great extent, especially at a time when Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma seems to be doing much in his capacity as a tourism minister to promote state tourism.
General Secretary, Indian Youth Congress, Guwahati, Mr. Manash Borah expressed on social media, “Government of Assam could not even provide adequate security cover to the Australian team. I condemn the lack of proper security cover to the Australian team, Home Department should come up with an ApologyI also condemn such stone pelting which brings a bad name to our city. For one man whole Sport loving fraternity of Assam is ashamed.”
However, not everybody is in sync with the tweet posted by Aaron Finch as one Mr. Rajesh Das opines, “DID ANYONE SEE THE STONE PELTER OR THE STONE ? A single tweet by a foreign player cannot crucify the image of Assam which is famous for hospitality. I request Assam Government to carry out a forensic test of the broken window glasses to find presence of stone particles. Because, I have a strong doubt that it’s a case of technical snag. Even the driver of the bus has expressed doubt. I have personal experience where the windshield of my Verna Car was broken due to technical snag. If necessary, the Australian player should be asked on what ground he has termed this as a stone attack. I’m writing this because this has taken an ugly turn and nobody should be spared.”
It should be recalled that only last month, Australia had withdrawn its advisory against visiting Assam deeming it as safe for travel but this incident has, in its truest form proved the Australian government’s advisory false and shown that Assam as a state is a tourist unfriendly state- well this is how global netizens as well as citizens have already begun to view the state.
While on the one hand, Assam government does not have second thoughts in spending crores and crores of rupees for appointing a glimmering actress as a tourism ambassador, the other side of the coin is a bitter reality that encompasses every other perspective one may have of the state.
DISCLAIMER: The opinion expressed in the article belongs to the writer and TNT- The Northeast Today may not have the same views
The writer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org