Hockey India’s hurried and feeble attempt at appeasing the protesting women players was shot down, with the team demanding to be treated at par with their male counterparts.
Indian men’s hockey team ended their strike after being promised an amount of Rs 1 crore. The women, however, were offered a mere Rs 50,000 each as reward for their performance in 2009.
“We want HI to treat us at par and give us the same cash incentives,” senior player Deepika Murthy said on Thursday. “Anything less will not do.”
The women’s squad, preparing for the World Cup at the SAI Centre in Bhopal, has instead demanded Rs 3 lakh each for their performances in 2008-09. The probables also decided to continue with their black-armband protest but reiterated that they would not boycott the camp.
“Both men’s and women’s team represent the country at the same platform, then why are the girls being discriminated against,” added Mamta Kharab.
The team also wants the governing body to pay cash incentives to the juniors. Hockey India had given Rs 1 lakh each to the junior men’s team, which won the Asia Cup.
Hockey India interim president, Vidya Stokes said she has requested the government to release Rs 1 lakh for each player as reward for their performances. The players, however, have rejected that offer too claiming that the government owes them Rs 1 lakh as per the cash incentives they give for winning medals in continental championships.
“HI has got nothing to do with it,” Kharab said. “That amount is for our silver medal in the Asia Cup and is pending for some time. It is not part of our demands.”
The players have also sought a graded contract system, like the one proposed by men.
Meanwhile, the players have received support from all quarters since their decision to open a bank account and seek help from the public.
Madhya Pradesh chief minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan has promised to bear all expenses of the team camping in Bhopal. The government has also released Rs 50,000 to the family of E Rajani, whose father recently underwent surgery.
The National Commission for Women, on Thursday, shot off a letter to HI asking it to look into the grievances of the players.
“They should do the needful. We have also told the Federation to let us know the steps being taken to address the grievances,” NCW chairman, Girija Vyas said.