The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) drew flak from veteran shooters Abhinav Bindra and Anjali Bhagwat after a dozen members of the Indian shooting squad were detained at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport for more than 13 hours as the customs department did not clear their weapons.
The shooters were returning from the Plzen Grand Prix shooting competition in the Czech Republic and were asked to stay at the airport by the customs department.
Criticising the incident, Beijing Olympics gold medallist Bindra put out a series of tweets, asserting that the shooters are the ambassadors of the country and questioned if the Indian cricketers will ever be treated in the same way.
“Saddened to hear that the National Shooting Team is detained at The IGI Airport with the customs refusing to clear their guns,” Bindra wrote on Twitter.
“They are our countries ambassadors and should not be treated like this. Would this ever happen to our cricket team?”
“Chatted with a few athletes and the lack of support coming through from the national federation is pathetic. @RaninderSingh @TheNrai,” he added.
Former Olympian Anjali Bhagwat said such incidents are not new and blamed at the miscommunication between players and NRAI.
“Is this the way to treat our Olympians? This is mental torture before major tournament. I know how bad it feels as this has happened before,” Bhagwat tweeted.
Is this the way to treat our Olympians? This is mental torture before major tournament. I know how bad it feels as this has happened before.
— Anjali Bhagwat (@AnjaliOlympian) May 9, 2017
The shooters complained that they have lost valuable practice time due to the incident, which may hamper their preparations for the upcoming World Cup in Munich, starting May 17.
Saddened to hear that the National Shooting Team is detained at The IGI Airport with the customs refusing to clear their guns. 1/3
— Abhinav Bindra (@Abhinav_Bindra) May 9, 2017