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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sports lovers, officials slam the suspension of women’s football match at cleric’s whims

Malda, 15 March, 2015: Block and district administrations have drawn huge flak from the sports lovers and sports officials of the district for having cancelled a football match for women allegedly by nodding to the demands of some clerics of minority community at Chandipur village of Rashiladaha gram panchayat in Harischandrapur I block yesterday.

District administration has however denied the claim of bowing before the demand of the cleric’s ‘fatwa’ (diktat) against women’s football and claimed that the permission for the football match between Kolkata XI women and North Bengal XI women was withdrawn as higher secondary examinations are being conducted.

It may be mentioned that the match was organized by Chandipur Progressive Youth Club as a part of its golden jubilee celebration. Women footballers of national repute like Krishna Das, Sujata Kar, Arjuna-awardee Santi Mallik, FIFA referee Anamika Sen, captain of national handball team Anita Roy were expected to grace the event. But they all had to return as the match was called off following the block administration’s order.

"But last week, some clerics from the minority community raised their objection to the women's football match. We had approached the block administration and the sub divisional officer for help. On 11 March a meeting was also held in the presence of BDO between us and those clerics who were against the match. The next day, many more clerics said a women's match would be against Islam. They also threatened to make a stronger agitation if the match was held. The BDO then ordered to stop the match,” said Reza Razi, the president of the organizing club.



Though the BDO, Harischandrapur block Biplab Roy remained reticent about the order issued by him prohibiting the football match, it has been learnt from some employees of his office that anticipating deterioration in law and order the order to cancel the match was issued by Mr Roy.

Secretary of district sports association (DSA) Subhendu Choudhury, however, termed the entire incident as an “undesirable” one today. “Especially when the chief minister Mamata Banerjee has been adopting numerous policies for empowerment of girls and women, such a decision of calling off the women’s football match is indeed pretty unfortunate,” Mr Choudhury said. Interestingly, DM Sharad Dwivedi is the president of DSA.

Former DSA secretary Subhasish Sarkar too was stern in his reaction. “We heard of such fundamental activities in countries like Iraq or Iran. But replication of such an activity in a progressive state like West Bengal was incredible for us. It is a pity when women our playing football in a country like Afghanistan, our women are still being hindered by some fundamentalists who are actually taking advantage of lawlessness prevailing in the state,” Mr Sarkar said. 

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