Flag-burning stunt to gain media attention: A small number of Khalistanis staged their annual demonstration in London on Sunday, the smallness of their numbers was bemoaned by their own leaders at the rally to Trafalgar Square. To prevent that little rally from going unnoticed, they made sure of burning an Indian flag in media presence, a sure way of getting some media attention. That turned a non-event into a media event. The low turnout was not a result of Covid restrictions. Under those, large political protests and gatherings are allowed.
Fighting period stigma: Long before the Bollywood film Pad Man became a landmark, as much in public debate as in cinema, Britain has been celebrating its Pad Woman, Manjit Gill. She has been campaigning tirelessly in Britain and India for overcoming shame arising out of periods. Now she has broken new ground. Her campaigning charity Binti has secured a commitment from Surrey country to the west of London to provide free period products. The country will provide free pads to anyone who needs them, launch a campaign to counter period stigma, and set up donation points for those who wish to contribute to the scheme.
Ollie suspended over tweets: The suspension of Ollie Robinson, the debutant England Test player against New Zealand sets off a potent message particularly to the young in sports. Ollie Robinson sent off those offensive tweets when he was 18 and 19 years old. In one tweet he said “my new Muslim friend is the bomb”, and in another that “females who play video games actually tend to have more sex than the girls who don’t.” He couldn’t have said that and continued to be in the team when the England team has included such as the poster boy of inclusivity, Moen Ali. Robinson took 7 for 101 in his first Test, and scored 42. The numbers are impressive, but they are not what his debut will be known for.
Team India hit by UK media’s Delta strike: The Indian cricket team camped in Southampton may not find itself in the friendliest of neighbourhoods. A local newspaper, the Southern Daily Echo, carried a report saying “almost a dozen” cases of the “Indian variant” had been found in Southampton. The number was in fact 11, made more dramatic-looking by the expression “almost a dozen”. The report only later adds that the variant is “now known as the Delta variant”. Britain is recording about 5,000 to 6,000 cases of the virus every day. The Southampton newspaper has gone hysterical over 11 cases since this variant was first discovered. The pointed “Indian” label to the “almost a dozen” cases, with the Indian team sitting in Southampton tells its own story.
Not much practice for Indian players: The Indian players in Southampton are getting only limited practice time yet, despite the BCCI’s claim that the team has found a “perfect set-up for training” at the Ageas Bowl cricket stadium where the team is staying at the Hilton hotel, a part of the stadium itself. Limited movement and time between tests and waiting periods for results have meant limitations to what might have been usual practice time, according to reports from the ground. New Zealand is in the meanwhile getting more than its due practice by playing Tests against England. At the moment this is looking like a quite unbalanced practice preliminary to the Test championship match beginning June 18.