The video has sparked fury online.
A video of female kabaddi players being served food inside a toilet in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district has triggered massive outrage.
The incident has led to the Yogi Adityanath government’s Sports Directorate suspending regional sports officer Animesh Saxena.
The video, believed to have been shot on September 16, 2022, shows the kabaddi players collecting food, consisting of rice and vegetables, from inside a toilet.
They can be seen serving themselves from large open plates and containers kept on the bathroom floor.
A three-day state-level sub-junior kabaddi tournament was organised at the Dr B R Ambedkar stadium of Saharanpur from September 16, 2022.
The kabaddi players were served food on September 16 and many of them complained that the rice was half cooked.
The kabaddi players also alleged that they were made to wait in long queues for food.
Later, the utensils in which rice was kept were spotted inside a toilet.
The video has also been shared by the Congress and Jayant Singh of the Rashtriya Lok Dal, as well as Y Satish Reddy of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti and other political leaders.
The Congress fumed: “Kabaddi-playing daughters of UP were served food in the toilet.
“The BJP government, which has spent crores on false propaganda, does not have the money to make good arrangements for our sportspersons. Disgraceful!”
— YSR (@ysathishreddy) September 20, 2022
Olympic bronze medal-winning wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt spoke to Republic TV and shed his views about the incident:
“It is unfortunate that women players are being treated like this. Ensure such an incident must not be repeated.
“This is a heart-wrenching video, and I want strict actions to be taken.”
The Uttar Pradesh government’s Sports Directorate has blamed ‘defective operations’ for an incident that has caused ‘immense slander against the department and the government’.
District Magistrate Akhilesh Singh told news agency ANI that action will be taken “in a week”.
He further added: “It that regional officials and stakeholders’ defective operations led to this incident and the Chief Secretary (has called) for strict action against the regional sports officer…
“There was a state-level tournament in Saharanpur which received some negative reporting.”
“Since it was a huge competition in which a lot of children participated and reports of improper arrangements have surfaced, the matter will be looked into seriously.”
Taking cognisance of the incident, Union sports minister Anurag Thakur said: “I’ve directed strict action against the accused contractor and officers.
“I have also directed that the contractor be blacklisted for the future.”