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Jan 08, 2008 at 11:13am IST

Monkey business? Symonds compared to Hanuman

Melbourne: An Australian newspaper on Tuesday published a picture of Andrew Symonds with his face superimposed on Hanuman's body, giving a comic touch to the racial slur furore in the Sydney Test.

'Symonds baney Hanuman’ ran the caption on the photograph in the Courier Mail, which was beamed by some Indian TV channels on Monday night.

The photograph was published a day after off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was banned for three Tests after ICC Match referee Mike Procter upheld the Australian charge that he had racially abused all-rounder Symonds by calling him a "monkey".

FACE-OFF: Australian paper Courier Mail published this pic of Symonds with his face superimposed on Hanuman's body. (IBN)

Meanwhile, the Sydney-based United Indian Association (UIA) expressed deep concern at the ban.

The Australian quoted UIA president Raj Natarajan as saying that since the Monkey God is one of the revered idols of Hindu mythology and worshipped by millions, it is surprising it was considered a racist term.

Even more surprising is that the word monkey is considered by the match referee serious enough to slap a three-match ban on Harbhajan Singh, the Sydney Morning Herald quoted him, as saying.

UIA members felt the Australian team behaved in an unsporting manner during their 22-run win over India in the second Test at the SCG on Sunday.

The UIA represents various migrant community groups of Indian origin in Australia.

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