Indian hockey players threatens to go on strike, Carvalho feels there is general bias
SEP 26: The six members including a coach and a manager of the victorious Asia Cup hockey team threatened to go on hunger strike before the Karnataka Chief Minister's house, as they feel that they are not equally treated like cricketers and this is surely a step-motherly treatment by the State government towards them. The state announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh for their cricketers on their World Cup win while they didn’t get anything after their recent Asia Cup victory over Pakistan.
The Coach Ramesh Parameswaran, manager R K Shetty and four players Vikram Kanth, V R Raghunath, S V Sunil and Ignace Tirkey, who are from Karnataka, will go on hunger strike for receiving shabbily treatment by the state govt.
National chief coach Joaquim Carvalho strongly condemned the announcement of cash awards by Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel and the state governments of Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand and Karnataka to the cricketers while ignoring the victory of his team in the just concluded Asian Continental Championship.
"Why are our hockey players orphaned? Why are our politicians biased towards hockey, the national game?" Carvalho asked.
"However, we are ever grateful to the President of India for her individual letters congratulating the hockey players on their Asia Cup win, without losing a match," he said.
“He stated that one coach and four players plan to go on hunger strike before the Karnataka Chief Minister's house following his announcement of Rs five lakh each to members of the cricket team, while "treating the state's hockey players like dust".
Carvalho said, "The Karnataka CM has not till date congratulated his state hockey players for the Asia Cup win.
"When IHF President K P S Gill announced Rs 1000 as bonus for every goal that was scored, many people in authority, including a few politicians, made a hue and cry and ridiculed the Indian Hockey federation.
"In fact, there is a competition going on between politicians and state governments in announcing cash prizes galore for cricketers.
"When hockey is the national game and when we have won a big tournament like the Asia Cup, why have these governments and politicians not recognised our triumph and, instead, showing bias?"
"I am not against cricket or cricket players. Every sportsperson needs to be recognised. The cricket players deserve the cash awards, no doubt, but are not the hockey players deserving to be treated in the same manner?” he raised a question.
The Punjab and Haryana governments are giving cash awards to cricketers, Carvalho wanted to know whether these governments will show the same to Sardar Singh, Baljit Singh, Gurbaj Singh, Shivendra Singh and Rajpal Singh who represent their states.
Carvalho surprised on the decision for civil aviation minister to give cash awards and out-of-turn promotion to cricketers in Air India and Indian Airlines, whether the minister is aware that these organisations also have hockey players on their pay rolls.
"Coach M P Singh, Gurbaj Singh, Bimal Lakra, Adrian D'Souza, Dilip Tirkey and captain Prabodh Tirkey are all employees of Air India and Indian Airlines. Will the minister extend cash awards and out-of-turn promotions to these deserving hockey players, or he will also orphan them like some of the state governments?" he asked.
Coming down heavily on Maharashtra's chief minister, who announced Rs 10 lakh each for the cricketers, Carvalho said: "The chief minister is perhaps not aware that Adrian D'Souza, Gurbaj Singh, Shivendra Singh and Joaquim hail from the state and reside there.
"When they give Rs 10 lakh for the second World Cup victory, why can't these chief ministers give equal amount to hockey players for their Asia Cup win?"
He also flayed the Sahara Group, which sponsors both the cricket and hockey, for having different standard for both the teams.
" Sahara has announced a house each for the cricketers but hockey players were not even given a match box."
As for the Jharkhand government's sops to cricketers, Carvalho wanted to know whether it would also help out the state's hockey players, Bimal Lakra and William Xalco in the same manner.
Former Olympian Aslam Sher Khan in a television interview too echoed the same. “He feels that the players are right in their decision, this has been going for too many years. This is really a long time curse”. We won the Asia Cup and scored so many goals but there is no buzz about the hockey players in general.
“There is a certain mafia which is working against hockey and in favour of cricket,” Aslam strongly stated.
“If the hockey players are also encouraged like cricketers, we will also achieve the same and regain our lost glory”.
On the other hand former Indian captain Zafar Iqbal feels “You can’t compare hockey with cricket and same with the case of players, however, he clearly said that hockey players of our country didn’t get what they deserve after toiling hard for their country,” Zafar said in a television interview.
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