The Jammu and Kashmir Bank’s recently launched calendar for 2017 has sparked a fresh controversy. Gul Mustafa Dev, an Olympian skier from Kashmir, has decided to move the court against the state-owned bank for disseminating wrong information about one of the achievers featuring on the calendar.
While Mustafa happens to be the first sportsman from Jammu and Kashmir to have participated in Olympics in 1988, the calendar shows Chain Singh, a shooter as J&K as the first Olympian. Chain Singh, who was born in 1989 (a year after Mustafa participated), represented India in 2016 Olympics in Rio.
The skier has launched a social media campaign to seek public support.
“Gul Mustafa Dev is the first Olympian from Jammu and Kashmir state to represent India in Olympics in 1988 in Calgary, Canada and not Chain Singh who participated in Rio Olympics in 2016, as it has been published in J&K Bank 2017 calender. @jkbank.net @thejammuandkashmirbank @muftimehbooba. P.S: I request all my friends and associates to share this message,” he posted on his Facebook account.
“I honor that person (Singh) for he is my fellow sportsman, who played Olympics, but the fact is that not he but I am the first Olympian from our state,” Mustafa said during an interaction with InUth. The skier also added that he would have already sued the bank but didn’t as he is currently out of town. “I will return by the weekend and move directly to High Court.”
Mustafa said that for all these years he has enjoyed the pride of being the first Indian sportsman to have represented the country in the winter Olympics. “But because of this calendar my image has been bruised,” he added.
The skier also said that the bank should have “verified the facts before selling fiction. They played with my lifetime achievement and I will teach them a lesson for life.”
Ironically, Mustafa remained unrecognised in his homeland for a long time. It took the state government over 20 years to recognise his contribution. He was finally honoured with the state award in 2009. A resident of Maharaja Bazar in Srinagar, Mustafa has trained over 15,000 skiers including boys and girls in Gulmarg. Many of his disciples achieved fame in national and international events.
This year’s bank calendar has already been in news for the wrong reasons. The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce Industries has expressed its dismay before the bank Chairman, Parvez Ahmed Nengroo.
“We’ve sent him a formal letter of dismay seeking an explanation as to why no face from the fields of business, tourism or handicrafts featured on the calendar,” KCCI President Mushtaq Wani says.