Thiruvananthapuram: Mayor Arya Rajendran is in a soup following her announcement that the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation is forming separate sports teams for General and the SC/ST categories.
The Mayor's social media post, mentioning the sports team formation, invited a barrage of criticism, with protesters mainly pointing out that a caste-wise classification has never happened in the field of sports before.
Her post evoked a sharp response in the form of sarcastic comments like: “Now we feel like laughing when we hear the slogan let communalism end”, “The mayor even lacked the political sense to question this” etc.
Meanwhile, the Mayor came out with a clarification post.
"It's sad that the Corporation's decision with a good intention is being given a negative interpretation. The selection is made after conducting trials among interested students from various government-aided schools in the city. These projects are implemented using the General fund and the SC/ST fund. We are able to provide opportunities for more students by such utilisation of the General and SC/ST funds, completely adhering to the government norms. For each sports event, 25 candidates are selected from among boys and girls. The selected students are trained together. Then the corporation forms a team in each sports item," she clarified.
Arya Rajendran’s note on the sports team
An own sports team for the Corporation
A long-cherished wish of sportspersons and sports lovers in the city is getting fulfilled. The Corporation will form official teams in football, handball, volleyball, basketball, and athletics. I visited the selection camp held at the Central Stadium yesterday. Each team will consist of 25 children. There will be one team each in the girls and boys sections under the General and SC/ST categories in each sports event. The Corporation will provide the necessary training for these children, who will represent the Corporation in various events. We are contemplating making this a permanent arrangement. The Corporation will devise a major project for the purpose. We will hold talks with sportspersons, enthusiasts, experts, and governmental bodies like the Sports Council of India and plan for the same. It is our responsibility to spot the talent of youngsters and support them in every measure to make them the pride of this nation. The Corporation is trying to contribute in every manner to reach that goal. We request the support and cooperation of all members of the public for this initiative.
Full version of Arya's clarification post
It has come to my notice that many wrongly interpreted my post regarding the Corporation's sports team formation. It's sad that a decision taken by the Corporation with good intentions was wrongly interpreted. For the first time in the state, a Corporation has deviated from the usual path and initiated a project to boost the sports sector. I think a clarification is required as the social media post was interpreted in a way neither the Corporation nor myself had intended.
Thiruvananthapuram Corporation has been conducting training campaigns for football, volleyball, basketball, and athletics for the past several years by including it in the People's Planning Project under the heads Kalari (General) and Kalari (SC).
The candidates are chosen through selection trials held across government-aided schools in the city. These projects are carried out using the General and SC/ST funds. When we use these funds in this manner, completely adhering to government norms, it helps us provide opportunities to more students. For each sports item, 25 candidates are selected from among boys and girls. All the selected candidates are provided training together before forming separate teams for the Corporation in each sports item. That is the whole idea.
Further discussions and expansion of the project scope are needed; for that, we will hold parleys with sports lovers and experts in the city. We are confident of giving shape to a big project. It is not the right approach to deliberately bring controversy over such an initiative and destroy it. Hence, I request all to end the controversy with this clarification note.