No cash, no job: Disabled chess player accuses Punjab government
Disabled chess player Malika Handa said on Sunday that the Punjab administration told her she could not get a job or a monetary reward as promised. She claimed Punjab Sports Minister Pargat Singh told her "clearly" that the pledge was made by a former government minister and the current administration "cannot do" anything. In a Twitter video, Handa displayed her medals and was upset.
Why does this story matter?
Handa said the former Punjab sports minister had promised her a cash prize and a job. "I have the invitation letter for the event but unfortunately I didn't receive the reward as the event was canceled due to COVID-19," she tweeted. In the past, Handa has said that she has been feeling depressed and wants to quit the game because of this.
'Wasted 5 years'
I m very feeling Hurt— Malika Handa🇮🇳🥇 (@MalikaHanda) January 2, 2022
31 dec I met sports minister of Punjab @PargatSOfficial
Now He said punjab Govt can not give job and Not cash award accept to (Deaf sports) because they do not have policy for deaf sports.
Cc: @CHARANJITCHANNI @sherryontopp @RahulGandhi @rhythmjit @ANI pic.twitter.com/DrZ97mtSNH
No policy for hearing disorder: Sports Director
Handa had visited DPS Kharbanda (Director, Sports, Punjab) in September to ask for the reward and broke down after not receiving a positive reaction. The Director reportedly said there was a policy for para-athletes, but not for hearing disorders, and blindness. "The Punjab government is pro-sportsmen and will shortly come up with that policy too," Kharbanda had told Tribune India at the time.
'Lost all hope, tough to convince her'
Handa's father Suresh had told the publication that said she was playing the game and fetching medals with the hope to get a job like other para-athletes. "For the past two-three years, she has been told that she must complete her graduation to get a good government job," he said. He said Handa had lost all hope.
Previous incidents where athletes had a conflict with the government
In 2019, Haryana Sports Minister Anil Vij and ace shooter Manu Bhaker had engaged in an ugly Twitter spat over a promised financial incentive. In 2018, sportspersons had conflicted with the Haryana government over an order mandating them to deposit one-third of professional sports earnings.
Who is Malika Handa?
Handa (26) is the first Indian woman to win gold at the International Deaf and Dumb Chess Championship. She has a 90% hearing impairment as well as a verbal impairment. She has received a National Disability Award and a silver medal in the World Deaf Blitz Chess Championships. She has also been a gold-medalist at the National Chess Championship for the Deaf seven times.