Nation Ashamed After National Level Para-athlete Forced to Beg on Bhopal Streets
The 28-year-old said he was made to run from pillar to post for a government job and had decided to protest in the state capital to highlight the state's apathy.
Para-athlete Manmohan Singh Lodhi with his medals.
Bhopal: A 28-year-old national level para-athlete in Madhya Pradesh has been forced to beg on the streets in the absence of support from the state government and has now taken his protest against the apathy to Bhopal.
Manmohan Singh Lodhi from Kandhrapur village lost one of his arms while working on a thresher machine in 2009. The spirited 28-year-old did not lose hope and backed by his family, he forayed into sports, specifically racing.
Lodhi then went on to win medals, including two silvers in 100m and 200m sprint at the National Games for para-athletes held in Ahmedabad in 2017. The same year, he was adjudged the best para-athlete by the Union department of social justice and empowerment. He also won five other medals at district-level events and took part in several competitions in the state.
But Lodhi’s achievements have failed to cut ice with the government.
He said, “My success has failed to fetch me a government job under the sports quota. I was ready to work as a peon too but government authorities will not listen.” Recommendations from local MLAs, including MoS Jalam Singh Patel, could not help him.
The para-athlete said when he approached the department of sports and youth welfare with his plea, he was asked to visit the department of social justice and empowerment, but to no avail. With no hope in sight, the 28-year-old landed in Bhopal and started begging on the streets to draw attention to his plight and the government’s apathy.
Lodhi’s father Daal Singh, a farmer by profession, hardly earns enough through his two-acre land to support the family. “I manage enough money by begging to arrange food and I sleep at New Market Rain Basera (night shelter) as I have no place to go to,” he said, adding that he would beg in front of the State Secretariat on Tuesday. “They can deny me the job but can’t snatch away my right to protest.”
Lodhi said despite orders from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the interview process for the disabled for Grade III and IV posts had not ended in MP and such candidates could only secure jobs through interviews.
The 28-year-old has been made to run from pillar to post even though chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has, in the past, announced government jobs to para-athletes who won medals in national events. Last Saturday, Lodhi had called on MPCC president Kamal Nath who assured him of a government job once the Congress came to power.
“I won’t return home unless I am given a government job and will keep begging on the streets to expose the government’s apathy,” said Lodhi who once aspired to join the Indian Army.
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