Fans divided over 'racist remarks'

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Continued heckling of Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds by the Mumbai crowd has opened a Pandora's box.

Updated: October 22, 2007 18:14 IST
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Racism and racist taunts from fans may not be new to Indian cricket, but the continued heckling of Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds has certainly opened a Pandora's box.

The BCCI and the fans certainly have some interesting thoughts on the subject, but the issue has already marred what has been an enthralling one-day series.

Andrew Symonds got out to a first ball duck in the Mumbai one dayer. If Australian newspapers are to be believed he was truly unnerved by the racist chants and a poster, which said "We treat our visitors like gods, but some of our gods are monkeys."

"I think it's out of my hands. The only thing I would say is that it didn't particularly bother me. But when someone completely ignores something like that, it's disappointing. So hopefully it'll be handled by the powers that be, and the issue put to bed," said Andrew Symonds.

So, are Indian fans really becoming racist or was this a one off case? Well, the opinions from the fans are certainly divided.

"It is absolutely a wrong thing on the part of our crowd, because whatever aggression the cricketers are showing on the field, it is the part of the game. Part of the sport, but people behaving this way is absolutely wrong. They are our guests, we should respect them. That is our culture, we should respect them, we should not do something stupid like this," said a cricket fan.

However, not all agree to this. "This is our reply to them. When our team goes to Australia, it gets this sort of treatment. So even if they have been treated like this, I don't think this is wrong," added another cricket fan.

This is probably the first time that the BCCI top-brass have been asked to deal with such a sensitive issue.

BCCI president Sharad Pawar, however, thinks this is a misunderstanding.

"I believe this is a misunderstanding; a language issue. There are many languages spoken in India, and I don't understand many of them myself," he said.

The BCCI insists that close circuit cameras will be monitoring crowd behaviour in upcoming matches, starting with the 20-20 game between India and Australia.

And the fans better behave because ICC rules stipulate the venues that continuously violate the anti-racism code can even be banned from hosting international games.

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