A high drama was witnessed on the arrival of the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) trophy at Punjabi University on Wednesday when some protesters, including a student union, reached at the spot and started shouting slogans against the appointment of sports director Raj Kumar Sharma, who had also joined the celebrations after getting anticipatory bail from the high court on the fake degree controversy recently.
Sharma was recently booked for allegedly submitting fake certificates to get the job of a lecturer with the state government and then that of director, physical education and sports, at Punjabi University.
Protesting against the appointment of Sharma, Rajinder Singh Raju, president of Employees Welfare Association, wondered how the university could allow a tainted officer to join the celebrations. He said, “The case against the sports director is pending in the court and the university has included him in the celebrations.”
However, in his speech, V-C Jaspal Singh came to Sharma’s rescue saying the credit for the trophy should also go to the sports director along with players and coaches. He said, “Raj Kumar Sharma has played a key role in the sports department’s success in achieving the MAKA trophy. He also worked hard along with students to win the trophy for the fourth time in a row and I congratulate him.”
Meanwhile, amid beating of dhols and bursting of crackers, university teachers, administrative officers, students and research scholars received the trophy that was brought in an open vehicle here on Monday.
A cultural programme was also organised to celebrate the occasion. Hundreds of students of several departments attended the celebrations and gathered to catch a glimpse of the trophy won by the university for the eighth time.
Vice-chancellor Jaspal Singh had received the trophy from President Pranab Mukherjee on August 29. The university was awarded Rs 10 lakh along with the trophy. It had secured 55,000 points, followed by Guru Nanak Dev University (33,000).
The players of the university had clinched the first prize in 43 competitions of All India inter-university championships. They stood second in 18 competitions and third in nine competitions.
While congratulating the players and coaches, Jaspal Singh said the real credit of winning the trophy went to players, especially those belonging to rural areas, who fought hard despite the shortage of funds and lack of international or even national standard facilities and infrastructure.
“They, along with their coaches, have overcome all scarcities in their respective sports through sheer hard work, dedication and commitment. It’s now for us to compensate them in whatever way possible,” he said.