On Saturday August 8, a Facebook page by the name of “With RG” sparked controversy after it alleged that the captain of the men’s hockey team Manpreet Singh demanded a ransom from the Modi government for the newly enacted farm laws.
In its Facebook post, the page claimed that “Captain Manpreet Singh’s hockey team refused to accept money from the Modi government until the Black 3’s farming laws were overturned.” Within a day, the post went viral on social media. As of this writing, it has received 10,000 likes, 895 comments, and 1,600 shares.
According to the “About” section of the page, it is run by fans of Congressman Rahul Gandhi (abbreviated RG). He clarified that this was not the official page of the President of Congress. “He believes in the growth of individuals with a strong focus on ordinary people with the nation,” praised page owners Rahul Gandhi. The Facebook fan page also has 7.72 followers at the lake. However, like the Congressional Scion, the owners of the “With RG” page are usual providers of fake news. And the claim about Manpreet Singh just happens to be one of them.
what is the truth?
There is no media report suggesting that Manpreet Singh had refused any award from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the performance of the hockey team at the Olympics. Since field hockey is a team sport, Singh could not have made the decision on his own without the approval of his team members. Further online research into the matter has revealed that the central government has so far not announced any awards for India’s men’s hockey team. So far, only state governments have announced cash prizes and other incentives.
For example, the government of Madhya Pradesh announced ₹ 1 crore for 2 players, namely Nilakanta Sharma and Vivek Saga. Likewise, the government of Punjab announced a reward of 1 crore for 8 players who were part of the Indian men’s hockey team, including Manpreet Singh. The Haryana government had also sanctioned ₹ 2.5 crore, a government job, a field for two state hockey players. Even the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) had announced a reward of 1.25 crore for the hockey team. However, the central government has not made any such announcement so far.
While Manpreet Singh’s political affiliation or his stance on farm laws is unknown, a glance at his Twitter profile shows no ill will towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi. After being congratulated by Prime Minister Modi for his leadership, Singh tweeted: “Thank you very much sir for your encouragement, your endless support for me and the team – this is not the last, will work harder to bring more laurels for the nation! Jai Hind!
He also responded to a congratulatory message from the official head of the Bharatiya Janata Party. After getting the bronze medal for India, he replied, “Thank you very much for the support. “
Prime Minister Modi also called out Manpreet Singh after India beat Germany in the bronze medal match. “Many, many congratulations to you and the whole team, you made history. The whole country is filled with joy. Your hard work has paid off. You’ve done a lot of work, please wish all the side on my behalf. The whole country is happy, congratulations Coach Reid, you made history. My best wishes are with you, “said the Prime Minister of India.
#LOOK | PM Narendra Modi chats with captain Manpreet Singh of the Indian hockey team, coach Graham Reid and assistant coach Piyush Dubey after the team’s victory #Bronze medal in men’s hockey game against Germany#TokyoOlympics pic.twitter.com/NguuwSISsV
– ANI (@ANI) August 5, 2021
A humble Manpreet Singh responded with a “Namaskar”. Given that the congressional regime has spoken out against farm laws, it’s understandable that its fan pages peddle the same propaganda on its behalf. However, politicizing India’s sporting achievements by creating a wedge between an athlete and dispensation from power is unacceptable. Although Rahul Gandhi’s fan page has attempted to spread the fake news, savvy internet users are unlikely to fall for the trap.