Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said hate has been so normalised in the country in the last few years that “even our beloved sport cricket has been marred by it”.

“In the last few years, hate has been normalised so much that even our beloved sport cricket has been marred by it,” Gandhi tweeted. “India belongs to all of us. Do not let them dismantle our unity.”

Gandhi’s comment was seen as a veiled reference to the controversy that emerged after former India cricketer Wasim Jaffer, who recently quit as Uttarakhand coach owing to a dispute with the state association. On February 10, Jaffer rejected allegations that he tried to force religion-based selections in the team.

The 42-year-old, who played 31 Tests for India and is a celebrated name in domestic cricket, said the allegation that he favoured Muslim players, which was allegedly levelled by Cricket Association of Uttarakhand secretary Mahim Verma in a media report, had caused him immense pain.

On February 9, Jaffer resigned citing “interference and bias of selectors and the association’s secretary for non-deserving players” as the reason. “...the communal angle that has been brought up, that is very, very sad,” he had said. The leading run-getter in Ranji Trophy also dismissed allegations that he brought Muslim religious scholars to the team’s training.

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Very sad about communal angle, says Wasim Jaffer after resigning as Uttarakhand cricket team coach