Kabaddi players served food stored in TOILET in UP’s Saharanpur, video goes VIRAL | India News

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Saharanpur/Lucknow: In a shocking incident, Kabaddi players at a state-level tournament in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district were allegedly served food stored in a toilet, prompting the authorities to suspend the district sports officer for laxity and blacklisting the caterer. The matter came to light after a purported video of the incident surfaced on social media, which showed cooked food stored in the toilet at Saharanpur’s Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Stadium which was served to kabaddi players.

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The state-level sub-junior girls’ kabaddi tournament was held from September 16 to 18 in which over 300 players from 16 divisions of the state took part.

The incident drew sharp criticism from ruling BJP’s Pilibhit MP Varun Gandhi who asked if Indian sports should be cleansed of politicians and their representatives to reach its zenith. Commenting on the incident, BJP MP Varun Gandhi tweeted, “Is the success of Indian sportspersons despite the system rather than due to it? This constantly disrespectful behaviour is a great shame for our nation. Should Indian sport be cleansed of politics, politicians & their administrative representatives in order to reach its Zenith?”

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also took a swipe at the incident, asking how Indian sportspersons would win gold at the Olympics if they are treated this way.

While the RLD termed it as a “gross insult” to the players, Congress accused the ruling BJP of spending crores of rupees on false publicity. Additional Chief Secretary (Sports) Navneet Sehgal said that Saharanpur District Sports Officer Animesh Saxena was suspended on Monday.

In a statement, Sehgal said, “The probe into the matter has been handed over to the district magistrate of Saharanpur. The cook and the caterer providing food to the players have been blacklisted. Instructions have been issued not to give any work to them in future.”

Special adverse entry will be made against the staff who was engaged in serving food, he said. Apart from this, instructions have been issued to all district sports officers that any type of laxity in providing facilities to players will not be tolerated, he said in the statement.

District Magistrate Akhilesh Singh said Additional District Magistrate (Finance and Revenue) Rajnish Kumar Mishra will conduct the probe and submit a report in three days.

“The rice and ‘pooris’ were kept in a toilet. The video, which went viral on social media, showed the players taking the food kept inside the toilet,” Singh said.

He added that it had also come to the administration’s notice that the food was cooked near a swimming pool and only two cooks were engaged to prepare it for over 300 people. The food was then stored in the toilet, he added. The “pooris” were spread on a piece of paper while rice was half-cooked. The players could not even get adequate food, the district magistrate said.

Singh has directed the probe team to speak to the athletes, get the video clip and submit a report. “The district sports officer did not inform the administration about the state-level tournament. If the administration had been informed, it would have given special attention to the competition,” he added.

Meanwhile, suspended District Sports Officer Animesh Saxena said, “I have already informed my seniors that the food, which was seen in the video circulating on social media, was stale food of September 15.” I told the cooks to remove the stale food, which was cooked near the swimming pool. However, they shifted the stale food to the changing room of the swimming pool.” He claimed that coaches and players never complained about food and they were satisfied with the food served to them.

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