At the packed stadium, he looked for an Indian team jersey but they were all sold out. There was a Pakistan jersey on sale, though, and he bought it. He had little idea about the storm it would trigger back home.
#Video | Sanyam Jaiswal from Bareilly reached late for India-Pak Asia Cup T20 match in #Dubai on Sunday. At the pac… https://t.co/AO41GnkRPT
— TOI Bareilly (@TOIBareilly) 1661921728000
As pictures of “an Indian man supporting Pakistan” went viral in his hometown, Jaiswal’s family started getting threats. Some tagged him in tweets and others appealed to chief minister Yogi Adityanath, senior police officers and BJP politicians to order an FIR against him.
A distress call went out to Jaiswal from his family, which runs a flourishing liquor trade and real estate business in Bareilly, to make his stand clear urgently. He did. Jaiswal said, “Like many others, I am, of course, a supporter of the Indian cricket team. I had planned to watch the match from the stadium with my friend, who came to Dubai all the way from the US. After I failed to get an Indian jersey at the store outside the stadium, I picked up a Pakistan jersey, which was available. I thought I would tease Pakistani fans by shouting ‘Hindustan zindabad’ while wearing their national colours. I didn’t know such a harmless thing would result in misery for me.”
An overjoyed Sanyam Jaiswal wrapped himself in the Indian flag after Hardik Pandya scored the winning run
He added: “It was all innocent. Though I was wearing the Pakistan jersey, I also had the Indian flag in my hand. My father is a heart patient and he says he will get an attack from all the tension. Everyone is calling me a traitor.”
A family member who did not want to be identified said, “Sanyam even has a video in which a Pakistani fan is asking him why he’s supporting India. What does he need to do to prove that he is not anti-India? This is so sad.”
Jaiswal is distraught. “I feel so let down,” he said, adding, “I had shared the pictures with a few friends. I don’t know who shared it publicly. I am under immense tension while my father, wife, and children are restless at home. I am really disappointed with the people who are sharing my images on social media without my consent and without knowing my side of the story.“
Sanyam Jaiswal’s trimmed picture with Pakistani flag in one of his hands that sparked controversy on social media
Himanshu Patel, a right-wing activist who demanded an FIR against Jaiswal and tweeted pictures of him with the Indian flag cropped out, said, “I had received this picture in a group and shared it on Twitter. I am speaking with senior leaders of the Gau Rakshak Dal and may lodge a complaint on Wednesday.”
Jaiswal’s father, 72, said, “People who have known us for years are questioning our love for the country and calling us ‘anti-national’. False rumours are being spread, which has hurt us. I am a heart patient and am finding it difficult to handle the stress.”
SSP (Bareilly) Satyartha Aniruddha Pankaj said, “The incident happened in Dubai, which is outside our country and thus outside our jurisdiction. Therefore, no FIR can be registered on the basis of complaints on Twitter.”
Watch UP man dons Pakistani jersey in Dubai, kin receive threats back home in Bareilly