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Monday, March 10, 2014

Is Delhi Govt Prejudiced Against Differently-Abled Players?

By Siddhi Sharma | INNLIVE

The Constitution secures to the citizens, including the differently-abled, a right of justice, liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship, equality of status and of opportunity and for the promotion of fraternity. But is this thought meant only to fill up pages of our constitution booklet ? Or does it hold some relevance and truth? Does our nation uphold its constitutional rights?

In an analysis done by INNLIVE, we have come across some shocking revelation . There are lots of voices , unheard. There are lots of sports people, falling in the category of the differently abled, who have made our nation proud, are suffering this bias. In such scenario, do we even have rights to call ourselves a citizen of a nation who believes in equality? When every ounce of the definition has been compromised?

INNLIVE wish to present the snippets of our analysis, for our readers to weigh in and decide their stance. In a recent incident, where the prestigious Arjuna Awardee Ram Karan Singh, a differently abled sport-person, has highlighted his plight on the bias of Delhi Government against the differently abled sports person, has led us to speculate about the existence of the constitutional rights of these players. He was allegedly attacked by policemen during a protest for the similar case in Delhi.

While following the line of our exploration, we have come across a shocking disclosure by Singh, who has made us swollen with pride by bagging Gold Medal at many National-Level tournaments before being an Arjuna Awardee, in 2012. He has mentioned that the remuneration he received from the Delhi Government every time he won a gold medal was Rs.7,000 in contrast to the so called able-bodied players who received a whopping Rs.50,000 in case of a similar win. And to our horror, he is not the only one who faced this bias as a differently-abled sport-person.

We need to understand the kind of efforts , patience and hardships that these differently abled players go through, definitely deserve the admiration, remuneration and honor of the highest order. If not more, but surely, at par with the other players.

When we probed further to analyze the take of the organizing committee, Paralympics, on this issue, we felt a very strong wave of support in the favor of the differently abled Players.In fact, The Delhi Paralympics Committee had also filed a case against the Delhi Government challenging their sports policy for the differently-abled.The case was filed in Delhi High Court in December 2011 and the decision on the case is still pending.

The General Secretary of the Delhi Paralympics Committee, Satbir Rana, who Support the cause with all his heart and spirit, said: It is the prerogative of the Delhi Government to decide the remuneration for sportsmen who win medals at the National games.”

Rana claimed that the Delhi Government’s sports policy was itself biased against differently-abled people.

“For winning a gold medal at a national-level game, an able-bodied player gets Rs.50,000 whereas a differently-abled player gets Rs.7,000; for a silver medal the remuneration is Rs.30,000 and Rs.5,000, respectively while for a bronze medal it is Rs.20,000 and Rs.3,000, respectively,” he pointed out.

“A differently-abled sportsman needs more effort to play a sport compared to his able-bodied counterparts. They also need people to help them with minor things. Therefore, they deserve to be paid at par if not more,” said Rana.

On his expectation for the outcome of the case filed by the committee, he says: “If we win the case, the Delhi Government will have to change their sports policy. He further defends his belief by quoting the fact that ” Giving the same remuneration to both categories is possible. Haryana Government does it. They pay Rs.1 lakh to both able-bodied players and differently-abled on winning a gold medal at a national-level tournament, he added.

These incidences are hard to digest. It definitely raises questions about the Delhi Governments Policy and also on our constitution, which clearly endorses equality for all people. It is highly demotivating and, we believe, if we cannot provide a holistic environment for the development of our Differently-abled players than conducting such sports event is nothing but an Eye Wash.

It's important today, to channelize the skills and talent of these players by providing them the right infrastructure, sports equipments and trainers with at par remuneration and employment opportunity. Only then can equality at all levels in sports be implemented. It's high time the Delhi Government must rethink its policies and revise it with immediate effect , considering the well being of the affected players. After all, they are the pride of our nation and we must at any cost protect their pride and faith in our system.
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