The following press statement was issued by the Basketball Federation of India following a TOI news report that India u-18 men’s player Anmol Singh was prevented from wearing his traditional head gear in the match against Malaysia in the ongoing 23rd FIBA Asia U18 Championship for Men at Doha, Qatar:
The Basketball Federation of India is shocked to read the news published in the Times of India daily national newspaper dated 21st August, 2014 titled “TURBAN ROW HITS INDIA BASKETBALL AGAIN” during the match played against Malaysia which India won 73–64 at the ongoing 23rd FIBA Asia U18 Championship for Men at Doha, Qatar on Wednesday 20th August, 2014. Immediately we contacted the Manager Mr. Shafique Ahmed Shaikh accompanying the team on telephone, who informed us that he raised this issue during the Manager’s meeting of the Championship on 18th August, 2014 in Doha and he was informed by the Director Technical Commission – FIBA Asia that this issue will be taken up during FIBA Central Board meeting after this Championship at Seville, Spain on 28th & 29th August, 2014, till then the Technical Commission, FIBA Asia is bound to follow the rules.
The similar turban issue was raised during the 5th FIBA Asia Cup held at Wuhan, China held from 11th to 19th July, 2014. To discuss and resolve the matter, Shri. R. S. Gill, President, BFI immediately deputed Shri. K. Govindraj, Sr. Vice President, BFI to attend the FIBA Asia Congress at Doha on 24th July, 2014. Mr. Govindraj raised this issue during the meeting of the FIBA Asia Congress where he was assured that the matter will be taken up by FIBA Central Board in Spain during their meeting. Last month the Ministry of Sports, Government of India also notified to IOC about Turban issue. Mrs. Roopam Harish Sharma, CEO, Basketball Federation of India has been nominated to attend the FIBA Congress in Spain, to further resolve the issue once for all, to avoid such humiliation in future.
The FIBA Commissioner who was assigned to supervise the match initially had no objection & allowed Mr. Anmol Singh (Uniform No. 11) to play in the first Quarter of the game with his Patka, which is a religious right of the Sikh community. But when Anmol re-entered the Court in the second quarter was told to remove his Patka, which caused humiliation to the Player and affected the performance of the team in that particular match.
Basketball rules say that the player shall not wear equipment or object that may cause injury to other players while playing. The patka is made of thin cloth which does not cause injury to anybody, as Sikh athletes are wearing in other team games.
We are surprised that why this discrimination by FIBA Asia is being repeatedly imposed on Indian Sikh athletes representing the country at International level, whereas the international bodies of Volleyball, Football, Hockey, Handball, Cricket and other team games with the exception of Wrestling (sometimes) have no objection on Sikh athlete wearing a Patka while playing.
The Basketball Federation of India strongly condemns the unwarranted action of Technical Commission of FIBA Asia taken against Anmol Singh and asks them to stop discrimination against Sikh athletes representing Indian Basketball teams at international level immediately.
(PREM PAL SINGH)
DY. CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER