National Awards & Farmer Protests Are Separate Things, Says IOA

Khel Ratna awardee Vijender Singh had also threatened to return the honour in support of the protesting farmers.

2 min read
File picture of Indian Olympic Association President Narinder Batra.

After former and current sportspersons across the country have threatened to return their national awards in support of the ongoing farmer protests, the Indian Olympic Association has asked them to reconsider their decision.

IOA President Narender Batra and Secretary General Rajeev Mehta have asked the athletes to respect the awards they had won after all the years of hard work. They further added that returning the awards wasn’t a solution.

The IOA statement on Monday read, “National Awards which are given by the Government of India to Sports persons for their extraordinary performances when the are representing India in international sporting events. These National Awards are given to sports persons as a recognition for their performance they have given for their country.”

“Off late sports persons are seen to be announcing return of their National Awards as a mark of their support for the recent farmers issue. National Awards and farmers issue are 2 separate things, while every Indian including us loves and supports the farmers and we all would always like our farming community to be happy as they are the *ANNDATA's* of our country.”

The former sportspersons including the likes of Padma Shri Kartar Singh and Olympic Gold Medallist Gurmail Singh weren’t allowed to March to Rashtrapati Bhawan on Monday.

The farmers have been protesting since 26th November on the borders of Delhi asking the government to repeal the farm laws with the next meeting slated to be held on 9th December.

Close to 60 sportspersons from Punjab have decided to return their awards amidst farmer protests. IOA has cautioned the sportspersons, requesting the sportspersons to let the government and farmers decide on the matter.

Earlier, Khel Ratna awardee and India's first Olympic medal-winning boxer Vijender Singh had also threatened to return the honour in support of the protesting farmers.

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