Manu Bhaker, India’s 16-year-old teen shooting sensation, was involved in a war of words with Haryana Sports Minister Anil Vij over a promise of giving her a cash reward of Rs 2 crore for winning the 2018 Youth Olympics which was held in Buenos Aires. However, in an exclusive chat with News Nation, Manu’s father, Ram Kishan Bhaker, who works as a chief engineer in the Merchant Navy, offered some clarification in the ongoing controversy. “I had a chat with Anil Vij. He said the notification came afterwards and you don't have to worry about that. This is a previous policy. The new notification is for future events,” he said.
When asked as to whether this was another case of bureaucracy hampering a sportsperson’s growth and motivation, Ram Kishan smiled and said, “The country knows what is right and what is wrong.” The controversy involving Manu and the Haryana Sports Minister took place on Friday when Vij, on his Twitter handle, had tweeted on October 10 that the 16-year-old was promised a cash price of Rs 2 crore for winning the Youth Olympic gold medal in Argentina. After waiting a couple of months, Manu, who had apparently not got the money, lashed out at the government in her tweets on Friday by stating someone in the Haryana government has been playing games over the money promised to Youth Olympic winners.
Read More | Every event, every medal memorable: Manu Bhaker
To compound matters further, Manu retweeted Yogeshwar Dutt’s old tweet on a recent circular issued by the Haryana government in which it stated that one-third of the income earned by Haryana athletes from professional sports or commercial endorsements will be deposited to the Haryana State Sports Council. In the tweet, Yogeshwar had criticised Ashok Khemka, the principal secretary to the Government of Haryana. Immediately after that, Manu replied to Vij’s tweet which said, “Sir, please confirm if this is correct… or a jumla”. This resulted in a heated exchange between the Haryana government and the teenager.
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War of words intensifies
The Haryana Sports Ministry jumped into action by stating that she should have first spoken to the sports department rather than airing her issue in public domain. "The language she used in her tweet is aimed at tarnishing the image of the state and it is in bad taste. The government has given all pending prize money to sportsmen in August 2018...for those who are left out a plan is under way and they too will be given the prize money,” Vij said. The Sports Minister sought an apology from Bhaker, saying as per the policy of the government, the prize money of this year's award winner is given the next year.
Even Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar criticised the decision of Manu to air her grievances on Twitter. The chief minister stated, “Manu Bhaker will get award money as per the rules of the department, tweeting over it is not good. I think nobody should have a problem with the rules.”
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar: Manu Bhaker will get award money as per the rules of the department, tweeting over it is not good. I think nobody should have a problem with the rules. pic.twitter.com/t3r5MiViPm— ANI (@ANI) January 5, 2019