Ahmedabad: A football match organised by Gujarat’s newly-appointed team of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Godhra as part of the party’s ‘Khela Hobe’ events a day after the Independence Day was cancelled at the eleventh hour, allegedly after pressure from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the State.
The match between two locally created teams named after Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose was to be held on Monday, August 16 on the grounds of the St Arnold’s Higher Secondary School in Godhra town. On Independence Day, the organisers were told that the permission was cancelled.
The football match was organised by Jeetendra Khadayta, a former Congress activist from Godhra who was recently named the Gujarat convenor of the TMC.
Speaking to Free Press Journal soon after the event was cancelled, Khadayta said, “St Arnold School had given us permission to hold the tournament on their ground. The executive magistrate and the police had also given us a go-ahead, but suddenly I got a call and then a letter from the school principal that the permission was withdrawn.”
“It is very clear that the school had been pressured by the ruling establishment to cancel the permission, though officially they all looked supportive until the eleventh hour,” he said.
“I had created two teams of 16 players each, we had got the T-shirts made, banners were ready, all the arrangements for food for the players and the spectators had been made. Not only this, I had got the ground cleared and flattened it with rollers. I have all the pictures of these,” the TMC convenor lamented.
When contacted, St Arnold’s school principal, Father Rajesh D’Souza told Free Press Journal, “Yes, we have refused permission owing to the Covid-19 situation.” Asked why the permission was withdrawn at the eleventh hour, he said, “The decision was taken by our higher authorities.”
Questioned if the higher authorities would mean the Education Department or the District Administration, Father D’Souza said, “No, our school’s higher authorities.” And when asked who the school authorities were, he only said, “Our internal authorities”.
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