Shillong, Nov 26: Following in the footsteps of the Khasi Students Union, which last week demanded that only Khasis and Garos represent Meghalaya sports teams, the Hynniewtrep Integrated Territorial Organisation went one better today to call for all non-tribals in the various sports associations of the state to step down.

In a letter to Sports & Youth Affairs Minister Banteidor Lyngdoh, HITO said that it is in “total support of the view and opinions” of the KSU.

However, HITO went further and demanded that non-tribal office holders in state sports associations and the Meghalaya State Olympic Association either step down or be removed, especially if they have been in charge of associations that have failed to bring in medals for Meghalaya.

HITO’s president Donbok Dkhar and sports secretary Lastborn Thangkhiew named a few directly from the table tennis, judo, taekwondo and volleyball associations. They also criticised the fact that the MSOA General Secretary, Chiranjib Choudhury, is not a tribal, as he represents Meghalaya to the sporting world in his role.

The pressure group also railed against politicians and civil servants who hold posts in sports associations, which, HITO said, could lead to bias.

Besides Lyngdoh, who is ex-officio President of the MSOA, other politicians are often elected president of various sports associations. It is also common for senior civil servants to be found in various positions of authority as well.

Such a situation presents a “conflict of interest” and needs to be stopped, HITO said.

Dkhar and Thangkhiew also highlighted HITO’s recent Right to Information (RTI) request that revealed a lack of physical education teachers in state government schools, which, they said, makes a mockery of the government’s aim to produce Olympians by 2028.

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