Despite cash incentives pouring in from various quarters—including Rs one crore from the Madhya Pradesh government —the women’s hockey players have decided to continue with their protest, as they want Hockey India (HI) to come forward to meet their demands.
“Our fight is not for money, but for equal rights. When HI can give cash incentives to our male counterparts, why can’t they do the same for us?” said skipper Surinder Kaur. “Why this discrimination?”
On Friday afternoon, HI’s interim president, Vidya Stokes, telephoned the girls promising them Rs 50,000 each and the remaining amount soon. But the girls demanded a written assurance on the remaining amount, which Stokes refused.
“We got a call from HI saying they were ready to pay us Rs 50,000/- each. For the remaining amount, they told us to wait. After discussing the offer, it was decided that unless HI gives us a written assurance, our protest will continue,” said Surinder Kaur. “When HI decided to give cash incentives to the men’s senior and junior teams, why didn’t they think about us?” said Mamta Kharab.
Meanwhile, Sports Minister, MS Gill, on Friday announced that Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Shivraj Chouhan, had agreed to give Rs one crore for the women’s team.
“We have always played for the country’s pride. We are not stopping our practice, but will sport black bands till our demands are met,” said Deepika Murthy.