Incorrect Facts and Misplaced Perceptions: WBFI’s Response to Another Side of WCBB in India


Wheelchair Basketball Federation of India (WBFI) released a statement on 20th December, 2018. 

This official statement is being issued with the approval of the Executive Committee of the WBFI. This is necessitated because some individuals are using social media to spread views about the WBFI and its governance which are not only defamatory but also based on incorrect facts and misplaced perceptions.

– Opening statement in the document released by WBFI.

It is not a mystery that this document is an indirect respond to the complaints/questions I raised through my previous article about WCBB in India.

Before I make another attempt to explain to WBFI that their governance structure is creating problems at the grassroots levels (while also failing to comply with global standards), I will list a few reasons to tell why I continue to analyze this ecosystem. If you want one short answer:

Research can aid the analysis of complex ecosystems such as this to create sustainable solutions!

And this is what I do as a job. My personal connection to this cause (or say my bias): stories of human rights violation at grassroots level are hard for me to ignore. My rights based training to create solutions does not allow me to walk away from witnessing a problem that has only continued to cause more damage than benefit.

  • India to this date does not have disability sport researchers who are conducting empirical research to support the Government’s work for policy reform (to meet fast evolving governance demands from international disability sport organizations).
  • Every year I spend at least four weeks in India to immerse myself into the ground realities that surround the lives of persons with disabilities here. I am not a foreigner who wants to transplant  ‘foreign/western’ practices. To learn further about where the professional philosophy of Indians like us comes from, read this.
  • Critical lack of enumerated data that considers variables like disability and sport – is the most serious challenge India faces today. With no credible data, holding Disability Sport Organizations (DSOs) accountable is becoming hard with each passing year.

Can’t count them, can’t protect them. 

  • Absence of professionals who can pursue this line of critical inquiry into the systems (that are allowing power play within the Indian disability sport scene). The direct result of this is violation of the rights of persons with disabilities while federation governing bodies continue to function under minimal legislative oversight.

MORE QUESTIONS FOR WBFI’s Executive Committee 

Kindly refer to my original article where I have in detail raised my questions about your lack of compliance with the NSCI, 2011.

1 to 7: You are stating the obvious with out explaining:

(a) your provisional affiliation with PCI and the current status of your affiliation after new PCI board members took office under Mr. Rao Inderjit Singh’s leadership; (b) How WBFI can have the term ‘India’ assigned to its registration as a society?; (c) There is no mention of YWTC Charitable Trust in your responses (this trust has been involved in monetary contributions into the WCBB movement in India. And so far the legal connection that exists between both these organizations is not clear); (d) ICRC has continued to be a long term partner and is publicly known to support WBFI’s efforts to promote WCBB in India. However ICRC is missing from all financial documentation that is so far made publicly available.

To this date, your bylaws are not provided publicly on the website. Nor are the affiliation documents from PCI and IWBF.

You are also not explaining why the same draft of bylaws are being forced to be used at the state levels (There are many emails to this record from Mrs. Kalyani that have been sent out to state members enforcing their use). Why should State members use a draft that is provided by WBFI? Aren’t society bylaws to be drafted focused on what is the local context and need for the society to be created for? Also until I uploaded your organization documents here, no one had access to your organizations bylaws and internal regulations. Yet, WBFI was forcing state members to sign a certification that they will abide by WBFI’s regulations.

Also, why are State members unaware of their voting rights within WBFI?

Why hasn’t WBFI conducted a single election since it’s inception? If elections were impractical for the complex circumstances under which WBFI was working hard to promote the sport, why wasn’t any information regarding this situation ever communicated to its active members?

Which disabled people’s organizations and Indian NGOs has WBFI partnered with locally?

8: Why aren’t there clear records of the 19 States that participated in your programs? Why aren’t the details of the State members, their leaderships at the state level available on your website?

9: Were these courses approved by the Rehabilitation Council of India?

10: When state members were not even registered as affiliate members (well into the early part of 2017), how can WBFI claim to have conducted National Championships with national level teams? For example, Delhi State Association to this date despite being one of the oldest team on the scene is not an affiliate member.

12: I have first hand information (as a core volunteer) on how accessibility measures were taken up in 2016 (Hyderabad) and how the funds were allocated for building ramps that were later disposed off from the accommodation venue. These practices that WBFI has in place are not rights centered. They are more based on the lines of ‘event convenience’ and the vision for ensuring accessibility is restricted to the events.

13: Aspiring to attain an NSF status is commendable. Then WBFI must also be willing to comply with all the requirements that MYAS mandates through the NSCI, 2011 (pages 11 and 12) for federations to seek recognition as an NSF. At present, WBFI is in clear violation of these criteria to attain eligibility.

14: The Symposium for State Associations was conducted after I emailed WBFI and other stakeholders questioning your governance structure. At the Symposium, many State members were disallowed from asking rights based questions. Members that I have interviewed also mentioned that there was open demand for hastening the registration process despite critical lack of resources at the State level.

The Goa Controversy at Erode ‘Nationals’ 2018 

Below are the screenshots of social media posts from persons with disabilities in Goa who complained against the manner in which the Goa ‘National’ team was formed to participate in Erode ‘Nationals’. Goa’s team at Erode Nationals was made up of predominantly Maharashtra players. And I am unable to understand why these projected activities have to happen.

[I have not taken permissions from these individuals whose comments and posts I have shared here. If there is any objection from anyone, I will remove the images]

Where is the athlete with disability and their voice in the middle of all this chaos?

WBFI’s aspirations, goals and ambitions to become an NSF (apex body to control WCBB in India) are evident from their selectively (also carelessly) drafted statement. And in simple terms, this is a, “Which arrived first? The hen or the egg?” problem. And we all know how clear the answer to it is!

Should WBFI be compliant with the NSCI, 2011 for at least three years before they can get the NSF status from MYAS?

or

Will they get the NSF status (because of their privileged access to the Ministry) and then be required to be compliant with the NSCI, 2011?

In the middle of all this chaos, the questions remain!

Where are the rights of persons with disabilities who want to play WCBB in India?

Should they continue to barter their freedom of speech with access to WCBB?

IF THERE WAS NO FEAR OF REPERCUSSIONS AMONG THESE SOURCES THAT CONTINUE TO SHARE WITH ME THE DATA, I WOULDN’T HAVE TO KEEP THEIR IDENTITIES ANONYMOUS.

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