Zainab Abbas apologises for posts that led to her India exit, says they ‘do not represent my values’

Published October 12, 2023
A file photo of sports presenter Zainab Abbas. — Via ZAbbasOfficial/X
A file photo of sports presenter Zainab Abbas. — Via ZAbbasOfficial/X

Sports presenter Zainab Abbas on Thursday addressed her abrupt departure from India, clarifying that she was not deported or asked to leave the country, while also tendering an apology for her posts that were deemed offensive.

Abbas was in India as part of the World Cup 2023 broadcast team but exited the country earlier this week after a complaint was filed in New Delhi by a lawyer, who accused her of posting “derogatory” tweets targeting the Hindu faith in the past.

The complaint was rooted in screenshots of posts made by an account with Abbas’ name in the Twitter handle on micro-blogging site X (formerly Twitter) in 2014.

After her departure from the country, certain sections of the local media alleged that she was forced to leave, while others reported that she was deported — claims she has now denied.

“I was neither asked to leave nor was I deported,” she wrote. “However, I felt intimidated and scared by the reaction that was unfolding online.

“And even though there was no immediate threat to my safety, my family, and friends from both sides of the border were concerned. I needed some space and time to reflect on what had transpired.”

“I understand and deeply regret the hurt caused by the posts that were circulated. I wish to make clear that they do not represent my values or who I am as a person today,” she added.

“There is no excuse or space for such language, and I sincerely apologise to anyone who was offended.”

The complaint

According to Indian news website OPIndia, a lawyer named Vineet Jindal had on Oct 4 filed the cyber complaint against Abbas with New Delhi police’s cyber cell.

The complainant had also sought a registration of a first information report (FIR) against the presenter under various sections of the law “for making disparaging remarks about Hinduism and for anti-India statements”, the report added.

In his post on X, the advocate demanded that the presenter be removed from the list of presenters for the ongoing World Cup, claiming that “anti Bharat people are not welcome in Bharat.”

Two days later, on Oct 7, Vineet shared a redacted version of another letter he sent to Board of Cricket Control of India Secretary Jay Shah. The letter in question contained the recipient’s name and the subject and sought action against the presenter for her alleged anti-India remarks.

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