BY RATTAN MALL
DEVINDER Shory, Conservative MP from Calgary Northeast (Alberta), was in Surrey on Sunday to unite three groups of kabaddi organizers into a single new federation – the Kabaddi Federation of B.C. 2015.
The heads of the three groups – Manjot Samra, Sukh Pandher and Nitu Kang – will now be directors of the new federation and all decisions will be made unanimously. Also, any new kabaddi team will have to get the approval of all three directors.
Shory told The VOICE that this move was initiated by Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport), and Tim Uppal,
Minister of State (Multiculturalism), and he assisted them in the process.
He said: “I was in Surrey on Sunday – there were some hitches, so I requested them to agree to some things and form one unit. So they did and I am very thankful to all of them.”
Shory said the move was made to prevent fraud and that genuine players from abroad could come and play and then go back in a timely manner. This was also to unite the community, he added.
THE South Asian community had earned a bad name because of the raft of scandals involving kabaddi players suddenly vanishing into thin air after their tournaments were over. Some stayed back and were allegedly involved in criminal activities.
There were also allegations that some people were making a fortune from sponsoring kabaddi players or even fake players from Punjab so that they could stay on in Canada.
Back in 2012 then-Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney told the South Asian media that people were generally quite disturbed with how Canada’s generosity was abused by about 100 kabaddi players who failed to return to India and Pakistan and that the onus now was on those involved in this sport to re-establish their credibility.
On allegations of criminality, Kenney said: “I was approached by a senior officer of the Calgary Police Service, who happens to be of Punjabi background, … who expressed a very grave concern about an increase in criminality … associated with some kabaddi players who had come in and were living in Punjabi neighbourhoods in Calgary and in particular, he identified complaints about trafficking in narcotics, about assault, about harassment of women and general hooligan-like behaviour that he described to me. And, … similarly, I was approached by an officer in the Peel Regional Police who gave me similar reports.
“I had heard from a colleague about similar problems in Edmonton, but I haven’t confirmed that directly with the police. So I can’t tell you how many criminal charges were laid for precisely which charges, but … the problem was serious enough that I was actually approached by police proactively expressing concern … about some of the individuals that had come in. I don’t want to suggest that all of them were involved in criminality, but, but by all accounts, some of them were.”
Kenney was reacting to a Toronto Star story titled “Ancient sport of kabaddi under fire from Immigration Canada.”