Fans jubilant as Harbhajan is cleared of racial abuse charge

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Mumbai, New Delhi, Jalandhar, Jan 29 : Indian cricket fans are jubilant over the International Cricket Council's (ICC) decision of absolving off-spinner Harbhajan Singh of racism charge.

New Zealand Judge John Hansen today cleared Harbhajan of racism charge and lifted the three-match ban against him. He was instead charged 50 per cent of his match fee for offensive behaviour, and his offence was revised from Level Three to Level Two under the ICC Code of Conduct for players.

V R Manohar, the BCCI-appointed lawyer for Harbhajan in the hearing, said that the court ruling was a vindication.

"Court was with us as the evidence was in our favour. They couldn't prove that Harbhajan used racial remarks. The final judgment is that he has been found guilty at level 2.8 and released from the charge at level 3.3. Only 50 per cent match fee has been imposed on him," Manohar, who took part in the hearing via tele-conferencing, said in Mumbai.

In New Delhi, cricket fans were happy over court verdict.

"It was a good show altogether. Now India has paid back to them. That's a moral victory of sorts," said Shitij, a cricket fan.

"I think it's an achievement for BCCI and the unity of Indian players. It's about BCCI showcasing its clout on the world cricketing body," said Sahil, another fan.

Meanwhile, in Jalandhar Harbhajan Singhs' mother Avtaar Kaur expressed her happiness about the positive outcome.

"I am very happy. I cannot express my feelings to anyone," said Avtaar Kaur.

It maybe recalled that a three Test match was imposed on Harbhajan by match referee Mike Procter at the end of the controversy-ridden second Test between India and Australia played at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Harbhajan was accused of calling Australian allrounder Andrew Symonds a "big monkey" during the Sydney Test.

Indian players had reacted strongly to the charges against the off-spinner. Senior player Sachin Tendulkar maintained that Harbhajan had not said anything racist to Symonds during the confrontation in Sydney.

ANI

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