The new selection policy of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has evoked strong protests from shooters.
Days after the policy was circulated by the federation, the Maharashtra Rifle Association (MRA) has written a letter to the Sports Ministry questioning how such a major decision was taken without taking the state associations into confidence or convening a governing body meeting. They have asked the Ministry to trash the policy.
When HT contacted MRA general secretary, Ashok Pandit, said, “We at the MRA have the largest number of shooters at the Nationals and in the core group (for the Commonwealth Games), yet we were kept in the dark.”
The Arjuna awardee and Commonwealth Games gold-medallist said, “We would like to know who has taken such a major decision and with what authority. We are sure that the NRAI governing body, the only body, which can appoint such a committee, was never convened or the issue debated.
“It is unfortunate that no top pistol or rifle shooter was even consulted before the formulation of the policy.” Saying that four of the five members in the committee were shotgun shooters, Pandit said, “It’s better we call the federation as ‘The National Shotgun Association’. We from the pistol and rifle have no representation.”
Another top shooter from Chandigarh said the policy was unconstitutional. “How can they formulate such a policy when the NRAI office-bearers are themselves fighting a legal battle on the two-term issue.”
NRAI’s acting president, Avtar Sethi, who is one of the committee members, conceded neither any state association was involved nor was the governing body convened to ratify the policy. “There is no need to do so. We had a technical committee meeting.”
Another shooter said that with the committee having some active marksmen, “the selections could get tainted.”