The Basketball Federation of India on Thursday condemned FIBA Asia for forcing Sikh player Anmol Singh to remove his 'Patka' during an Under-18 Championship match in Doha, saying that the "unwarranted action" was discriminatory and humiliating.
"The Basketball Federation of India strongly condemns the unwarranted action of Technical Commission of FIBA Asia taken against Anmol Singh and asks them to stop discrimination against Sikh athletes representing Indian Basketball teams at international level immediately," the BFI said in a statement.
BFI said the India team's manager in Doha, Shafique Ahmed Shaikh, has been contacted and he had taken up the matter before the start of the tournament.
"...he was informed by the director Technical Commission, FIBA Asia that this issue will be taken up during FIBA Central Board meeting after this Championship at Seville, Spain on 28th and 29th August, 2014, till then the Technical Commission, FIBA Asia is bound to follow the rules," the BFI said.
"The FIBA Commissioner, who was assigned to supervise the match, initially had no objection and allowed Anmol Singh to play in the first Quarter of the game with his Patka, which is a religious right of the Sikh community. But when Anmol re-entered the Court in the second quarter, he was told to remove his Patka, which caused humiliation to the Player and affected the performance of the team in that particular match."
BFI said the FIBA's rules are discriminatory towards the Sikhs.
"We are surprised that why this discrimination by FIBA Asia is being repeatedly imposed on Indian Sikh athletes representing the country at International level, whereas the international bodies of Volleyball, Football, Hockey, Handball, Cricket and other team games with the exception of Wrestling (sometimes) have no objection on Sikh athlete wearing a Patka while playing," it said.
A similar incident had happened during the 5th FIBA Asia Cup held at Wuhan, China held in July. To discuss and resolve the matter, RS Gill, President, BFI immediately deputed K Govindraj, Vice President, BFI to attend the FIBA Asia Congress at Doha on 24th July, 2014.
Govindraj raised this issue during the meeting of the FIBA Asia Congress where he was assured that the matter will be taken up by FIBA Central Board in Spain.
BFI CEO Roopam Harish Sharma has been nominated to attend the FIBA Congress in Spain, to resolve the issue once and for all and "avoid such humiliation in future".