New Delhi: Angry at the continued “apathy” of Sports minister M S Gill, hundreds of disabled athletes and activists from all over the country today staged a protest outside his residence here.
Braving heavy rain, scores of activists for disabled rights demanded strict action against “corrupt” Paralympic Committee of India and announced an indefinite strike against the step-motherly treatment meted out to the disabled sportspersons.
“We have written enough letters to Dr Gill. He is least bothered about disabled. He has left everything to his officers and they are hands in gloves with the Paralympic Committee of India, the extremely corrupt sports federation,” Disabled Rights Group convener Javed Abidi on Monday said.
For the past two months, Abidi has been asking Gill to provide basic amenities like equipment, space and a proper coach for the disabled athletes.
“Repeated requests seeking the Minister's action against the corrupt sports federation have not yielded any results,” Abidi fumed.
Abidi also lambasted the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee for not picking any disabled athlete in its list of six brand ambassadors for the quadrennial event despite the fact that disability sports are a part of the event.
“How come no disabled athlete was selected? For those who may not know, disability sports are an integral part of the Commonwealth Games (since Melbourne 2006). When the Games take place from October 3 to 14, as many as 45 medals will be at stake under disability sports. Medals won or lost will impact the nation's medal tally,” he said.
“Disabled sportspersons are sidelined in the Commonwealth Games. The Paralympic Committee of India does nothing but to sit over all the funds meant for us,” Abidi lashed out.
He claimed that the Rs 13 crore earmarked for the disability sports for the Commonwealth Games have not been utilised.
“Where has all the money gone?” he asked.
“Why is proper coaching not being provided to our elite disabled athletes like Prashant Karmakar in swimming and Farman Basha in powerlifting, who are our only two medal hopes in the Games? Similar is the neglect towards our table tennis players and athletes,” he said.
First Published: Tuesday, August 10, 2010, 20:11