UP: Kabaddi players served food in toilet, video sparks outrage
A viral video showing Kabaddi players in Uttar Pradesh being served food in a toilet has sparked massive outrage. The video, along with several photos, shows a large plate of rice near urinals and a stack of pooris placed over a thin sheet of paper in the toilet. The incident occurred during the under-17 state-level girls' kabaddi tournament in Saharanpur last week, reported NDTV.
- The latest incident highlights the sheer negligence and compromise of hygiene by the concerned authorities who had organized the kabaddi tournament at Dr. Ambedkar Sports Stadium in Saharanpur.
- Kabaddi teams of 17 divisions from across Uttar Pradesh and a sports hostel had reportedly arrived for the three-day tournament. It was held from Friday to Sunday.
Now being widely shared online, the video shows participants taking rice and vegetables from plates on the toilet floor. In the background, one can spot four urinals, two wash basins, and even a commode. The camera pans around the room to show a big plate of rice at the toilet's entry, pooris in the middle of the toilet, and cooking oil kept near urinals.
Uttar Pradesh's sports authorities and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have received massive backlash over the incident. Following the controversy, the UP government suspended Animesh Saxena, the Saharanpur district sports officer, who earlier dismissed the allegations entirely, The Times of India reported. Saxena previously said that food was kept in the changing room (the toilet) due to a "space crunch" at the stadium.
Saxena earlier claimed that due to the rains in UP last week, authorities arranged for the food to be served near the swimming pool. "Food was kept in the changing room next to the swimming pool... Some construction work is being done in the stadium...there was no other place to keep the food," he told NDTV. Officials have ordered an inquiry into the incident.
The BJP-led UP government has received criticism from all ends of the political spectrum. "Is this how the BJP respects the players? Shameful!" said Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader Y Sathish Reddy. Jayant Chaudhary, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) president, said this incident is deeply disrespectful to sports persons. "Photo-op with players after winning medals will not solve real problems," AIMIM spokesperson Waris Pathan said.