ITANAGAR: International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach may have been satisfied with the assurance given by Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore that “fair and clean sports was the first priority of the government” during his recent visit but members of the various Olympic associations of the north-eastern states weren’t impressed with the alleged discriminatory behaviour towards one of its members.

Bach arrived at New Delhi on April 18 for a two-day visit and met delegates of the IOC and state Olympic bodies the next day. Among them were Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio, the ex-officio president of the Nagaland Olympic Association. Members of the eight Olympic associations of the Northeast have claimed that the IOC behaved in a discriminatory manner.

Writing to the IOC president, Narinder Dhruv Batra, the delegates from the region said that “though Rio attended the event as president of the Nagaland Olympic Association, his stature as the chief minister of a state of the Indian union cannot be ignored, which demands recognition, reception and treatment as per laid down protocol rules, which were flawed and ignored by the IOA”.

While the associations congratulated and thanked the IOA for organising and inviting them to the event, they said that the “unwelcoming behaviour” was “not only demeaning and discrimination towards the Northeast region and its leader, but also an insult to Indian democracy”.

The letter said that “sports lovers and lead promoters of Olympic Games of the Northeast have been discouraged and hurt by this conduct of the apex Olympic body of the country” and said that they “wish such unconstitutional attitude towards a chief minister will not be repeated in future”.

Bach’s visit came close on the heels of the 2018 Commonwealth Games at Australia where India finished third in the medals tally with 26 Gold and a total medals tally of 66, with three of those coming from athletes from the Northeast.