While the world celebrated Valentine’s Day on February 14, for Indians it was a black day. 40 CRPF lost their lives as an SUV laden with explosive rammed their convoy in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district. It was one of the deadliest attacks on Indian soil in recent times and the country has been seething in rage even as they indulged in protests and prayer meets. Amidst the outrage, tennis star Sania Mirza’s name has been dragged into a debate by a Telangana politician who wants her removed as Telangana's brand ambassador.
Lone BJP legislator in the Telangana assembly, T Raja Singh is widely known for his controversial statements and comments. In a video message to Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, Singh stated that post the Pulwama attack, it was time India cut off all its links with the neighbouring country in every form. “The way Pakistan-backed terrorists killed our brave Indian soldiers in an attack at Pulwama in Kashmir was unpardonable. The entire country has condemned the dastardly act perpetrated by our neighbouring country,”
He further added that it is not right to continue with Sania as the state’s brand ambassador as she is Pakistan’s daughter-in-law. “When the Indian government is making every attempt to isolate Pakistan and cutting off all its relations with the country in every field, it is not appropriate to continue Sania, a Pakistani Bahu, as the state’s brand ambassador,” he added.
Sania married former Pakistan cricket captain Shoaib Malik in April 2010 and the couple live in Dubai for most of the year. The Telangana government declared Sania Mirza as Telangana’s brand ambassador in July 2014 and since then has been participating in the programs related to it.
A day before Singh’s statement, Sania took to Twitter and shared a lengthy post about the incident Pulwama attack and her stand on social media outrage. She was trolled mercilessly for sharing a picture of herself on social media on February 14 instead of condemning the terror attack.
Singh recommended names of other sports personalities like VVS Laxman Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu who belong to Telangana state and urged that one of them be made the brand ambassador of the state.