Jammu, September 16:
Instead of cleaning up the dust, the crisis between the Amateur Fencing Association of Jammu and Kashmir and the ad hoc committee working under its banner, has worsened with each passing day, thus adding to the fears of fencers over the future of medal sport. The Amateur Fencing Association of Jammu and Kashmir and the Ad Hoc Committee both claim to be bona fide and authorized constituents of the J&K Sports Council and the Indian Fencing Association (FAI), which triggered differences between them since 2021.
The ad hoc committee was framed by the FAI (as claimed) in February last year for a period of one year until March 31, 2022, after the death of one of the officials of the Jammu and Kashmir Amateur Fencing Association.
The FAI has also granted the ad hoc committee’s request to extend the 6 month deadline to complete the District Fencing Association registration process and as a result an extension has been granted which will expire on 31 October 2022. .
The ad hoc committee is headed by international fencer and FAI approved referee, Rashid Ahmad Choudhary, as an officer under the banner of the Jammu and Kashmir Amateur Fencing Association, which is headed by the former forester Mukheerjee Sharma for almost two decades.
The crisis between the two groups has spread further due to “personal reasons”, as the members are at loggerheads and adamant to resolve the matter amicably once and for all.
J&K Amateur Fencing Association president Mukherjee Sharma blamed the FAI for the “problem”.
“We are the eligible body affiliated and recognized by the Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council and the Jammu and Kashmir Olympic Association,” Sharma said.
Notably, the J&K Sports Council has already de-recognized the J&K Olympic Association in violation of the March 2016 guidelines in accordance with the notice published on July 22, 2022.
“How FAI can declare us “no longer legal” when elections have already been conducted in the presence of an observer appointed by them. They (ISP) can only disaffiliate us but cannot declare us “more legal”, asserted the veteran.
Second, he said, “we were told to register the district bodies but before that we were declared ‘no longer legal’ and the ad hoc committee was framed.”
“The FAI plays a ‘foul’. We have no internal disputes. It was the FAI that created the confusion,” Sharma said.
He said: “We have never interfered with the proper functioning of the ad hoc committee and may have released funds from time to time sanctioned by the J&K Sports Council for the conduct of business.”
“We didn’t knock on the doors of justice just for the welfare of fencing and the future of fencers,” Sharma said.
Meanwhile, the head of the ad hoc committee, Rashid Ahmad Choudhary, when contacted, said: “We want the sport to happen, and it’s the FAI that recognizes us. Currently, no team or fencing activity is considered valid without our approval.
“The ad hoc committee has a team of experts and technical members,” Choudhary said, adding, “We are affiliated with the FAI and the J&K Sports Council also recognizes us.”
“The terms and conditions laid down by the FAI must be fulfilled by all means and for 18 months we have been carrying out the activities,” the official said adding, finally, the FAI must take the call for the holding of the elections, which are already due.
He said that the Committee registers the organs in each district and also carries out activities according to the schedule.
“Fifty percent of district body registration is compulsory and there are so many hurdles in registering a district body in Jammu and Kashmir, but we are on the job,” Choudhary said and added that despite the differences, they never let the fencing activity get in the way.
“We conducted regular activities, organized competitions, sent teams for national participation because we received the mandate not only from the FAI but also from the J&K Sports Council after February 2021,” he said.
“We have no objections if they (Amateur Fencing Association) come forward to join us under one umbrella in accordance with the standards set for the betterment of fencing,” Choudhary said.
Meanwhile, a senior J&K Sports Council officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “The dispute is nothing more than an ‘ego clash’ and a ‘power play’ but we are doing our best to resolve it on a positive note.” (UNITED)