Even as the nation celebrated the success of our three champions at the Olympics, a sports tragedy happened in Punjab, bringing to light the struggles that sportspersons face in our country. 20-year-old handball player, Pooja Kumari was found dead in Punjab’s Patiala town, after she hanged herself in her home on Saturday.
As per police reports, Kumari committed suicide because she was allegedly denied sports quota which entitled her to a free room and meals in her college hostel. A street-vendor’s daughter, she could not afford to pay for these facilities, and was forced to take the drastic step of committing suicide.
Pooja was in the second year of BA at General Shivdev Singh Diwan Gurbachan Singh Khalsa College. While the administration is claiming that the player didn’t ask for hostel facility, her suicide note which was written in blood, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, states “Mere parivar ki madad karo PM Modi ji (Please help my family, PM Modi). I have to think a hundred times before spending five rupees but denial of hostel means I spend Rs 3,720 monthly to reach the college campus… which my family can’t bear,” as reported by Hindustan Times.
Pooja had been playing handball for six years, and had represented Punjab in the 2011-12 national games. The College principal Dharminder Singh Ubha said. “She was given admission on August 18 without any fee… She never approached the authorities for hostel facility. If she would have, then we would have allotted her a hostel room.”
In her note, Pooja has also accused the college’s head of the physical education department, Gursharan Singh Gill, of harassing other players for not winning medals in the previous session. The police have filed an FIR against Gill for abetment to suicide.
A sad incident, which only confirms the apathy of administrators to the plight of sportspersons in our country.
Feature Image Credit: Medscape.com
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