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Aslam seeks PM help to save Indian hockey

An angry Aslam Sher Khan criticises Union Sports Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar and seeks the Prime Minister's help in a bid to save Indian hockey.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 14, 2008 12:59 PM IST

An angry hockey great and former Parliamentarian Aslam Sher Khan today criticised Sports Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar for refusing to take action against IHF Chief KPS Gill and said MPs would seek the Prime Minister's intervention to revive hockey in the country.

Aslam, who was a member of the 1975 World Cup winning team, has launched a campaign to remove Indian Hockey Federation President Gill and save the game by obtaining signatures of over 100 Member of Parliaments on a memorandum addressed to PM Manmohan Singh.

"Government should look after proper utilisation of the facilities they provide like infrastructure, coaches and funds to the Federation. The Government also gives permission to teams for their foreign visits. Aiyar can't bail himself out of the situation," Aslam told PTI.

The MPs are agitated because of the country's failure to qualify for the Beijing Olympic Games and as a result Indian team would not be a part of the sporting extravaganza for the first time in 80 years.

"The MPs are very angry and want me to do something in order to save hockey and remove Gill. All senior and new MPs have come together and I have collected signatures of around 100 members and the memorandum will be signed on Monday or Tuesday. The number of supporting MPs could go up to 200," Aslam said.

Aslam said since there had been precedences of Government taking action against the IHF administration in the past, they decided to approach the PM for help.

The memorandum addressed to the PM says, "As the leader of the great country we ask you to follow the precedent which late Ms Indira Gandhi took when country faced with the similar situation and hockey was on decline in 1983.

"She took immediate action by asking the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to dissolve IHF and create an ad hoc committee. It went on to assess the damage done by the previous administration and took necessary steps to revive the game," it said.

The former fullback also lambasted Gill for the decline of hockey in the country over the last few years.

"Gill is behaving as if a wild elephant crushes everyone's head. MPs think why it can't be corrected. Like in 1975 when Ashwini Kumar was the IHF president, the Government of India ensured that the Federation elections were conducted under its observation.

"In 1983, former CISF Head IM Mahajan was the IHF Chief and again hockey was on the downslide. So Indira Gandhi directed the then Sports Minister to intervene. So if there is a will there is a way and I am confident that Government will take an initiative," he said.

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