After videos on social media showed kabaddi players in Uttar Pradesh serving themselves food that was kept in the toilet of a sports complex, the state government said on Tuesday that Saharanpur District Sports Officer Animesh Saxena has been suspended, ANI reported.
The videos, which are being widely shared on social media, were reportedly shot by some players on September 16 at the Bhimrao Stadium in Saharanpur during an Under-17 state level kabaddi tournament for girls. Around 300 players had come to participate in the game, according to Dainik Bhaskar.
The videos show the players serving themselves rice from a vessel that is kept near a row of urinals.
Saxena said that he had to keep the food inside the toilet as it was raining, India Today reported. “Arrangements were made to cook food for the sportspersons in the changing room as construction work is ongoing at the stadium,” he claimed.
A letter issued by the Sports Directorate said Saxena failed to give an explanation on what led to the incident. He was suspended under provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Government Servant (Discipline and Appeal) Rule, 1999, the letter said.
Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur said he has sought strict action against the officials involved. “I have also directed that the contractor be blacklisted for the future,” he told ANI.
Saharanpur District Magistrate Akhilesh Singh said he has ordered an inquiry and a report will be submitted in two to three days.
Meanwhile, the Opposition targeted the Bharatiya Janata Party for serving players food kept in the toilet.
“The BJP can spend crores on various campaigns, but does not have money to make proper arrangements for players,” the Congress wrote in a tweet.
Rashtriya Lok Dal President Jayant Singh Chaudhary said that the incident was a “gross insult” to the players.