Olympians protest Batra's nomination

India’s Olympians have launched a strong protest against the inclusion of the Hockey India secretary general, Narinder Batra, in the 12-member Working Group that the Sports Ministry has constituted for re-drafting the National Sports Development Bill.

In order to bring about transparency and good governance in the National Sports Federations, the Sports Ministry last week had decided to establish a group under the chairmanship of Justice Mukul Mudgal to prepare a revised draft of the bill, which was initially drafted in 2011.

In a letter to the Sports Minister Jitendra Singh, as many as 22 Olympians expressed their concerns about the nomination of Batra in the committee. “The elections of the Hockey India itself under his (Batra’s) secretary ship was held on 5th August, 2010 in violation of the age and tenure clause of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports order dated 1st May, 2010 facilitating the election of 82 years old, Vidya Stokes as its first President. Subsequent to which HI was de-recognised on 5th August, 2010 and remains de-recognised till date,” the Olympians wrote in the letter. “Such an official does not deserve to be on this committee,” the letter further stated.

The Olympians, including Padma Shri awardees Mohammad Shahid and V Baskaran, questioned Batra’s inclusion in the committee. “Currently, both IHF (Indian Hockey Federation) and HI are affiliated to IOA — IHF by virtue of Delhi High Court Judgment dated 21/05/2010, which quashed all orders of illegal suspension and disaffiliation and HI for unknown reasons though it stand de-recognised by the MYAS,” said the letter.

Stating that Batra is the “root cause” of the current hockey dispute in the country, the letter said: “That Mr Batra with the help of (Suresh) Kalmadi and (Lalit) Bhanot created parallel body — Hockey India and further created parallel ad-hoc bodies at State level ignoring the rightful claims of pre existing and erstwhile members of the IHF and IWHF. Besides Batra, the working group includes Rahul Mehra, Vidhuspat Singhania, Abhinav Bindra, Boria Mazumdar, B V P Rao, Sayan Chatterjee, Viren Rasquinha, Joint Secretary (Sports), MYAS, Director (Sports), MYAS and Mitali.

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