On Wednesday, Indian Women’s hockey team lost the semi-final match against Argentina at the Tokyo Olympics. The defeat gave a reason tosome unscrupulous people at Hockey player Vandana Katariya’s hometown in Haridwar to attack her caste and even celebrate the defeat.According to a report by The Times of India, two upper caste men began circling Katariya’s residence at Roshnabad village in Uttarakhand.
Katariya’s family said that they were attacked for their lower caste as the upper-caste men burst crackers, danced in mock celebration and hurled casteist abuses at them. The men even went on to to say that the women’s hockey team lost because it had “too many Dalit players,” reported TOI.
The 29-year-old forward hockey player emerged as the star of the final Pool A match at Olympics 2020when India narrowly won over Ireland. Last week, Katariya scored three goals for the team as she defeated South Africa, leading India to the quarter-final against Australia. The athlete became the first Indian women’s hockey player to register a hat-trick at the Olympics.
Katariya’s first tryst with fame came in 2013 when she was selected for the junior hockey team. Her performance helped India win the bronze medal at the 2013 Women’s Hockey Junior World Cup. With five goals, Katariya was India’s highest scorer in the tournament. At the Asian Games 2014, Katariya was in the senior hockey team and once again went on to win the bronze medal. She was also part of the gold medal-winning hockey team at the 2017 Asia Cup. The player also performed for the team to achieve a silver medal at the Asian Games in 2018.
The recent incident has shown how despite her stellar performance and consistent dedication to bring glory to team, India cannot defeat the ancient practice of casteism. Katariya had lost her father three months ago and could not attend his funeral, since she was confined to the bio-bubble in Bengaluru while training.
An FIR is yet to be registered against the men who attacked Katariya’s family for their caste identity, reports TOI.