Aslam rallies MPs in bid to oust Gill

By Avishek Roy, IANS

New Delhi : Former Olympian Aslam Sher Khan’s campaign to remove hockey federation chief K.P.S. Gill has gathered momentum and the parliamentarian says that politicians cutting across party lines are supporting the move.

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Aslam, who has collected more than 100 signatures from fellow MPs in a memorandum to remove Gill, will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before the present session of parliament with a request to dissolve the Indian Hockey Federation.

“Hockey is almost dead after we failed to qualify for Olympics and the man at the helm is not budging. Gill has held the post for 14 years now and hockey has gone from bad to worse during his tenure. The government will have to step in and help the sport,” he said.

Aslam said the former players and Olympians will have to stand together in this hour of crisis and cannot allow Gill to continue.

“That alone can save Indian hockey. MPs are feeling very sad about the fate of hockey and, in fact, it was they who asked me to start the campaign to drive out Gill. They have assured me every support in this issue.”

“I am waiting to get the signatures of around 200 MPs and then I will hand over the memorandum to the prime minister before the end of this session of parliament,” said the former player who was a member of the Indian team that won gold in the 1975 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur.

Aslam said that Gill should have left the post in a dignified manner, taking responsibility for the defeat in Chile, but that has not happened.

“The crisis we are seeing today happened when Ashwini Kumar, who was also from the police force, was the hockey chief in 1975 and the government had to dissolve the body. It is high time that the same rule is applied for the incumbent.

“The government gives money for the training of the athletes and the federation says that their autonomy should be respected. The government is above all and it has every right to scrap this federation”