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Hockey Olympian Mohammad Shahid’s widow threatens to return his awards

Widow of Mohammad Shahid , member of the 1980 Moscow Olympics gold medal-winning Indian hockey team, is angry the state or central government had not fulfilled their promise made after the hockey stalwart’s death in 2016.

other sports Updated: Jul 17, 2018 21:54 IST
HT correspondent
HT correspondent
Hindustan Times, Varanasi
Mohammad Shahid,1980 Moscow Olympics,Padma Shri
Mohammad Shahid’s wife Parveen is happy that the promises made haven’t been kept.(HT Photo)

The late hockey Olympian Mohammad Shahid’s widow Parveen threatened on Tuesday to return his Padma Shri, Arjuna and other awards if the government did not fulfil its promise made after his death.

One of India’s finest forwards, Shahid, who belonged to Varanasi, was a member the India’s victorious 1980 Moscow Olympics team. He died on July 20, 2016 after a prolonged illness.

Parveen said several people, including ministers, visited her place after her husband’s death, but the government had not kept its word on providing assistance.

Ram Sakal Gurjar, sports minister in the previous Samajvadi Party government, had said a national tournament would be organised annually in Shahid’s name, she said.

The then union minister of state for sports, Vijay Goel, had assured his ministry’s full support to staging a tournament in Varanasi, but the central government had not taken any initiative, she said.

“My financial condition is not so strong that I can afford to sponsor or organise a tournament at the local, district or state level. If the government doesn’t fulfil the promises made after his death, I will return Shahid’s awards, including Padma Shri and Arjuna,” Parveen said.

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The government had also promised that a petrol pump or gas agency would be allotted. “Promises still remain just that. I run the family on pension. If this is the situation within two years of his death, who will remember Mohammad Shahid in the future?”

She said she would visit New Delhi after July 20 and try to call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and return the awards. She was upset at not being given time to meet the PM during his recent visit to Varanasi, his constituency.

She said Olympians Dhanraj Pillai and Zafar Iqbal had promised that a hockey academy in the name of Shahid would be opened in Varanasi.

Mohammad Shahid was employed as a sports officer in the Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW). His daughter Hina said, “We want a big hockey tournament to mark papa’s birthday on April 14 every year. In 2017, my mother organised an event with the help of sportspersons. But it could not be held this year.”

After his death, it was announced that the stadium on the DLW campus in Varanasi will be named after Shahid. Though a board bearing his name was put up, it was removed later and Chief public relations officer, DLW, Nitin Mehrotra, said the Railway Board didn’t approve the name change.

The Varanasi district magistrate Surendra Singh visited Shahid’s house on Tuesday and met his wife. He said: “A report on her demands will be sent to the state government.”

First Published: Jul 17, 2018 21:54 IST