A newspaper clip is being shared on social media to portray that the cricket association in Kerala selects only Muslims and has no space for Hindu.
The paper clip says, "New Kerala Cricket: Mohammad Yaseen to lead Kerala cricket team. Kozhikode: The state team will participate in the Southern Region National Junior Tennis Ball Cricket Championship to be held in Chennai on the 27th and 28th of this month. Led by Muhammad Yaseen. Team members: A.K. Mohammad Sajad (Vice-Captain), Ahmed Finash, KP Adnan, c. Shamil, Mohammad Rabeh, Damsas Mohammad, C.P. Abdullah, K. Abdullah Omar, T. Saleh, p. Mishal, Ashmil Sahan. Coach: M.K. Muneer, Manager: Majeed Bawa."
A Twitter user, Binu Padmam, shared the newspaper clipping with the caption, "Under 19 Kerala cricket team... Muhammad Yasin and all 13 members, including coach and Manager from one religion. Secularism is at its peak in Kerala. Population under 19 years of age will obviously have demographic change. Minority become majority here!!"
The newspaper clipping is viral on Facebook.
Only Muslims selected to play Under-19 Kerala cricket match by association.
We first searched Kerala Cricket Association site and found that people of all religion were the office bearers and General body member of this association.
We also checked for the players and found that players of almost all religions were listed in this association in both the General category and Under-19 category.
We also contacted the Kerala Cricket Association, who said that the viral news was not about them but maybe of other cricket association. They also said that they do not discriminate based on religion.
On further searching with the keyword, "Kerala team led by Mohammad Yaseen", and found an article published on AsiaNet News on February 24, 2021. According to the report, the Kerala state team is to compete Southern Region National Junior Tennis Ball Cricket Championship to be held in Chennai on the 27th and 28th of this month. The team is being led by Mohammad Yaseen, and indeed, all the players mentioned in the list were Muslims. But this was an Under-19 tennis ball cricket tournament and had no relation with Kerala Cricket Association.
On further searches, we found Southern Region National Junior Tennis Ball Cricket Championships held under government recognised organisation, 'Tennis Ball Cricket Federation Of India (TBCFI)'.
We contacted Shri Imran Ahmad Lari, Secretary-General of TBCFI, who confirmed that the Southern Region National Junior Tennis Ball Cricket Championship was being held under their association. While initially, he was not aware of the matter, but he later contacted us after gathering the information from the Kerala division and told us, "Due to pandemic, few people came to participate in the selection process. So Kerala division chose the best among them. While the process was transparent, and if you observe the girls team, then it has only Hindus in it." He also said, "Cricket has no religion. Some miscreants are bringing communal angle to the game." Imran also provided us with the number of Shafeeque, Secretary of Kerala State Tennis Ball Cricket Federation.
On contacting Shafeeque, he reiterated Imran's statement. He said, "Due to Covid, few students participated in selection trials, and hence we had to choose among them; religion played no requirement criteria here." He also provided us with details of all the players. He said, "While the captain of the boys' team is a Muslim, the girls' team is led by a Hindu named Amrutha C.G." He also shared with us the list of players selected to play for the Southern Region National Junior Tennis Ball Cricket Championship, which we are sharing here: "Tennis Ball Cricket, Kerala team Captains Boys Muhammed Yaseen & Girls Amrutha C.G. Boys team Members: A. K Muhammed Sajad, Ahammed Finash, K.P Adnan, C. Shamil, Muhammed Rabeeh, Damsas Muhammed, C. P Abdulla, K. Abdulla Omar, T. Salih, P. Mishal, Ashmil Sahan. Girls Team: S. Anjana, R. Sini, M.R Sruthi, S. Sariga, R. Abhinaya, V. Vinaya, Ardra Ramesh, M. Anaswara, Archana Nair, S. Sreeja, P. Vismaya"
Shafeeque also shared with us other details, including when and where the selection process was conducted, "Selection trials for the Boys team were held at Kondotty, Malappuram District on 17th January and Girls team at Nenmara Boys HSS Palakkad on 15th February."
Hence, the viral newspaper clip is shared with a misleading context.
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