Internationally acclaimed Kashmiri footballer, Ashfaq Ahmed, who has been making the country proud has been “humiliated” by the government of his own state. Recognising his “talent”, the Jammu and Kashmir government recently gave him the job of a physical education teacher. But he was actually asked to teach the school children how to sing and dance. Feeling humiliated, the striker plans to quit the job.
A resident of Srinagar, 33-year-old Ashfaq has numerous achievements to his credit. He is the only footballer from Jammu & Kashmir to be awarded the Player of the Tournament title at a national level event held in 2003. He has also served as the captain of the prestigious Mohan Bagan team and has also represented India in pre-Olympic and pre-World Cup qualifying rounds.
A five times Federation Cup winner, he is also a two-time winner of Indian Football League. Apart from this, he is also a Durand cup winner and has played the Asian Cup seven times.
To appreciate his undisputed talent, the government offered him the job vide SRO 49, a directive meant to benefit such sportsmen. He was posted at Girls Higher Secondary School Raj Bagh in the summer capital.
However, Ashfaq claims that the school authorities asked him to “groom the schoolgirls in cultural activities by teaching them singing and dancing.” The concerned officials said that the directive instructs a physical education teacher to take care of all such cultural activities.
Ashfaq said that the directives are “too humiliating.” “This is unfortunate that the government wants a footballer like me to teach singing and dancing. Was this why I was given a government job,” Ashfaq added.
In fact, the footballer, a graduate by qualification, said that the job given to him was not worth his talent. “I could have easily bagged such a job even through merit. Though I deserved a gazette cadre, I accepted the offer only because my family wanted me to do so. But now I think it’s too humiliating for me to continue any further.”
Talking to InUth he said that ironically, the other state governments duly respect sportsmen. “Even West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee honoured me, but back home I am being directed to teach singing in dancing. What more unfortunate it can be?”