Bangladeshi cricketer Shakib Al-Hasan apologises after death threat for attending Kali puja

There was no intention to show my own religion in poor light, he says

November 17, 2020 11:56 pm | Updated 11:56 pm IST - Kolkata

Bangladeshi cricketer Shakib Al-Hasan on Tuesday issued an apology after he received a death threat on social media for taking part in a celebration as part of a Kali puja in Kolkata. Mr. Hasan had attended a ceremony on November 12 in east Kolkata’s Kakurgachi area.

Bangladesh national cricket team captain Shakib Al Hasan (C) speaks with media as Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hassan Papon (L) stands next to him at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka on October 29, 2019. - Bangladesh captain and star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was banned on October 29 from all cricket for two years, with one year suspended, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said. The ban came after Shakib 'accepted three charges of breaching the ICC Anti-Corruption Code', the sport's governing body said in a statement. (Photo by STR / AFP)

Bangladesh national cricket team captain Shakib Al Hasan (C) speaks with media as Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hassan Papon (L) stands next to him at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka on October 29, 2019. - Bangladesh captain and star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was banned on October 29 from all cricket for two years, with one year suspended, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said. The ban came after Shakib "accepted three charges of breaching the ICC Anti-Corruption Code", the sport's governing body said in a statement. (Photo by STR / AFP)

“I consider myself a proud Muslim, I offer my apology if I have hurt your sentiments,” the cricketer said. He added that he never inaugurated the puja as it was being claimed on social media and had only participated in an event near the puja pandal.

A youth on Sunday threatened to kill the Bangladeshi all-rounder in a video post on Facebook accusing the cricketer of blasphemy. The man who had threatened the cricketer has been identified as Mohsin Talukdar from Sylhet in Bangladesh.

“There was no intention to show my own religion in poor light. I believe Islam is a religion of peace. I always try to follow every custom of Islam. Yes, we do make mistakes but I try to learn from them in order to become a better Muslim,” Mr. Hasan said in the video.

Mr. Hasan further clarified that the puja was inaugurated before his arrival. “If you see the invitation card of the puja, you will know that I was not called for inauguration. It was inaugurated before my arrival by Mr. Firhad Hakim, chairman of the board of administrators of Kolkata Municipal Corporation and a Minister of the West Bengal government,” he added.

The cricketer said that the event he participated in had nothing to do with puja and he was present in the mandap only for a few minutes at the request of the organisers.

“Kolkata is like my home; I never miss an opportunity to visit. We should all pray that relations between people from both the sides stay strong forever,” Mr. Hasan had said at the event on November 12.

According to reports, the man who had threatened the cricketer on social media has been arrested in Bangladesh.

In 2019, a controversy had erupted over Bangladeshi actor Ferdous Ahmed allegedly campaigning for a Trinamool Congress candidate in the Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal. The Election Commission of India and the Centre took note of the incident and asked the actor to return to Bangladesh.

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