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Tarun Das, New Delhi

A footballer identified as Dairrassouba Hassane Junior from the African country of Ivory Coast was assaulted and racially abused during a five-a-side match in Malappuram, Kerala on 10 March Sunday at 6pm. FIR registered under IPC section 308 and 153A at Areekode Police Station where the incident allegedly took place.

Football player Diarrassouba Hassane Junior being chased and beaten up by the crowd in Kerala. (Photo Credit: X/Shashank Shekhar Jha)


In a Shocking act of racism over skin colour, A football player identified as Dairrassouba Hassane Junior from the Ivory Coast in West Africa was chased, assaulted and beaten up by a crowd at Chemrakattoor in Areekode, a town in Malappuram district of Kerala known for its passion for football during a Sevens football tournament held in the region recently. In a video that went viral, a group of people are seen beating up the footballer in an open ground.

The incident came to light after a video of the alleged incident went viral wherein a mob of people could be seen chasing and beating up the footballer Dairrassouba Hassane Junior hailing from Adjane in Ivory Coast, a country in West Africa in an open ground. In the video of the alleged assault, a man wearing a white t-shirt could be seen shielding Hassane from the blows. The man is also seen talking to the irate people later. The footballer then left through a gate.

An FIR on the alleged assault has been registered on Tuesday following the complaint by the victim football player at Areekode Police Station under various sections, including 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race). A police officer of Areekode police station told PTI that the player’s statement had been recorded, which took some time due to language issues. A total of 15 people have been named in the FIR.

The footballer detailed in his complaint to the local police that he alleged that he was stoned by the specatators and was called “f****ng African monkey” and “Black Cat” when he was playing for local club Newlala Pookolathur. He further alleged that also beaten up by people belonging to the opposite team management and their team around 6 pm on Sunday. He said in the complaint that he managed to escape after supporters of my team intervened and stopped them.

According to a report by news agency PTI, the crowd alleged that the player began to misbehave with the spectators during the match, prompting them to take the law into their own hands. The Kerala Police have launched an investigation into the incident. It is still unclear whether anyone was arrested following the assault on the Ivory Coast footballer.

The game of Football is extremely popular in Kerala. The state hosts several local football tournaments that attract players from foreign countries as wel, primarily from countries of Africa. Many players from Africa come to Kerala to play Sevens and Fives, a popular form of football played in Kerala with seven-a-side or five-a-side teams. These players are mainly brought by managers of local teams to play for the annual seven fives season which usually begins in November and goes up till June-July. Approximately 200 players from the Ivory Coast, Liberia, Ghana, Senegal, and Papua New Guinea play for local teams in the Malappuram and Kozhikode districts for the annual seven fives season which usually begins in November and goes up till June-July. The African players get attracted to local tournaments because of lucrative offers and the popularity of the game in the state.

Dairrassouba Hassane Jr. came to the District SP office personally on Wednesday morning and handed over the complaint along with the viral footage of the attack to the police. The SP has assured the player that strict action would be taken against those who brutally assaulted him and hurled racial abuse. A special cell has been constituted at Areekode police station to probe the matter and examine the video footage circulating on social media. The player has also complained to the Ivory Coast Embassy in Delhi. The incident has brought international shame to India around the globe and also questions the hospitality and safety of foreign players who come to the nation and play in domestic tournaments.