Punjab para-athletes protest near Amarinder's residence for jobs

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Chandigarh, Jun 24 (PTI) Para-athletes of various disciplines held a protest near the official residence of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh here on Thursday, demanding jobs from the state government.

Having won accolades in national and international events, the protesting sportspersons said they wanted to return the awards given by the state as a mark of protest.

The police had put up barricades on the road leading to the chief minister's house.

The protesting para-athletes were joined by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders and workers, and slogans were raised against the Congress government of the state.

The police evicted them from the protest site and detained them briefly.

Talking to the media, para-athlete Sanjeev Kumar said they were not given jobs by the state government despite assurances.

Kumar said he had won many medals and awards, including the Punjab government's prestigious Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award.

Another para-athlete, Veena Arora of Amritsar, also asked the Punjab government to provide jobs to them.

Taking a dig at the government, the protesters said if it could offer jobs to the sons of two Congress MLAs on compassionate grounds, then there is no reason why it cannot give jobs to them.

They were referring to the Punjab cabinet's decision to appoint Qadian MLA Fatehjang Singh Bajwa's son Arjun Partap Singh Bajwa as an inspector in the Punjab Police and Ludhiana MLA Rakesh Pandey's son Bhisham Pandey as a naib tehsildar in the Revenue Department on 'compassionate' grounds.

AAP legislator Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer said the special athletes were more qualified and fit for government jobs than the sons of Congress MLAs and leaders.

The Amarinder Singh-led Congress government made a lot of announcements for sportspersons, but most of them are living in poverty now, he said.

The AAP leader added that para-athletes had staged a 'dharna' last year as well to remind the government of its promise of jobs to them. PTI CHS VSD IJT

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