Saturday, Oct 01, 2022

Virat Kohli, Anushka Draw Flak For Urging Netizens To Avoid Firecrackers On Diwali

Twitter was abuzz with hashtags against the cricketer as well as Anushka Sharma for asking people to refrain from bursting firecrackers.

Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma PTI

The internet seems to have taken issue with actor Anushka Sharma and cricketer Virat Kohli's Diwali greeting this year. The couple received flak for urging people not to burst firecrackers, which appears to have offended sentiments of some people who fervently celebrate the festival.

The Indian captain on Saturday posted a Diwali message on Instagram and asked people to refrain from bursting firecrackers to protect the environment. "Please remember do not burst crackers and celebrate a safe Diwali," he said in the video message.

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A post shared by Virat Kohli (@virat.kohli)

Several social media users have trolled the Indian captain who is currently in Australia. Videos of people bursting crackers and tagging Virat Kohli emerged quickly on the internet, criticising them for telling them how to celebrate their festival. Some even chimed to take away the captaincy from Virat Kohli over his stance and give it to fellow-player Rohit Sharma instead.

The cricketer's video message was in line with the National Green Tribunal's (NGT) blanket ban on firecrackers this Diwali due to the alarming rise in air pollution. The Supreme Court had asked states to adhere to the NGT's guidelines on air pollution and firecrackers ahead of Diwali.

Netizens also dragged in Anushka Sharma in their strong disapproval. The Bollywood actor has avidly dissuaded people in the past from bursting crackers because of the impact the noise has on dogs and other animals. 

Soon, "Anushka apna kutta sambhal" (Anushka, take care of your dog) took steam and began trending on Twitter. The hashtag has recorded over 30,000 tweets in one day. The online tiff appears to have included Anushka's dog also, as people attacked the pet online and called him a "coward". 

Beyond the censure directed towards the couple, some sections of the internet have been up-in-arms against the ban on firecrackers.

People interpreted it as an attack on religious freedom, a move that mars the sanctity of the festival celebration. Many were quick to point out the "hypocrisy" of people who either allegedly harm the environment in other ways or stay silent over controversial aspects of other religions.

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Arvind Kejriwal's government had banned the sale and burning of firecrackers in the National Capital Region (NCR) from November 9 midnight to November 30 midnight owing to plummeting air quality.

However, pollution levels in Delhi and neighbouring areas soared on Sunday, a day after Diwali, as several people defied the ban on firecrackers. The air quality has once again plunged to "severe category", conflating with the pollution caused by stubble burning in neighbouring states.