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In the Name of Kabaddi, Punjab Youth Stay Back in Canada

"Misrepresentation and fraudulent documentation are of concern. Fraudulent documentation, including photo-substituted evidence of applicants playing kabaddi, have been encountered among the supporting documentation submitted with applications," it added

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A Kabaddi match (Representational image). Wikimedia

By Jaideep Sarin

Traditionally a tough, rural sport practised by ‘pehlwans’ in villages across the length and breadth of India, kabaddi has been flying high in recent years due to the money and glamour brought in by the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL).

This new-found professionalism has certainly helped the top-level players and turned this typically ‘desi’ sport into a lucrative career option.

But going by a longstanding trend in Punjab, the benefits are yet to trickle down to the average athlete at the village level in the state.

Generally considered to be one of the traditional powerhouses of kabaddi in the country, players from Punjab are making news in faraway Canada for the wrong reasons.

Nearly 47 per cent of the youth going to the country in the name of participating in Kabaddi tournaments have failed to return, a confidential report of the Canadian government has pointed out.

“In 2015, 2016 and 2017, visas were issued to 261 kabaddi players. Forty seven percent of them failed to report back to the migration office in Chandigarh, 26 per cent obtained work permits after entry to Canada and 1 per cent made refugee claims,” the internal report of Canada’s Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (Ministry), which is with IANS, has stated.

“While the rate of return increased from 42 per cent in 2015 to 62 per cent in 2017, the rate of persons obtaining work permits unrelated to Kabaddi has also increased from 21 per cent to 30 per cent,” it pointed out.

The youth are invited to Canada by kabaddi federations based there to play matches organised by the strong Indian community residing in the country.

“The rate of players who obtained work permits after entry to Canada (26 per cent) in 2015, 2016 and 2017 suggests that they intended to enter Canada primarily for long-term work unrelated to playing Kabaddi,” the report said.

Abhishek said it was all due to the league getting bigger and better every season.
In the name of Kabaddi, Punjab youth stay back in Canada. Wikimedia

Selection by a Canada-based kabaddi federation for visa facilitation effectively allowed the players to circumvent the conventional examination of work permit applications at a migration office outside of Canada.

With an increasing number of youth applying for Canadian visa in the name of kabaddi, the Canadian ministry, in 2017, had invited kabaddi federations in Canada to participate in a pilot programme related to the sport.

Players and federations were informed of the requirement to report back to the migration office at the conclusion of the season in Canada in December 2017. That year, 78 kabaddi players’ applications were approved for the four inviting federations. Of these, only 62 per cent reported back while 30 percent stayed back and obtained a work permit by presenting themselves with a labour market impact assessment at a land port of entry as “visa exempt” clients.

Among the four federations, according to the report, players of two federations had a rate of return of 29 per cent only. Players of the other two federations had an 88 per cent rate of return.

When contacted by IANS, officials at the national kabaddi federation refused to comment on the issue.

“The federation has nothing to do with this issue. These players go abroad on their personal initiative and at the behest of tournament organisers over there,” an official said on condition of anonymity.

Earlier, rate of refusal of visa applications for Kabaddi players was as high as 65 per cent (in 2014).

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Canada’s Chandigarh visa office receives the vast majority of temporary resident applications from kabaddi players wishing to play in Canada.

“Kabaddi players applying through Chandigarh are typically young, single unsalaried males with limited economic prospects in their home county. Most belong to rural agricultural families with modest land holdings which may be held in common with several persons. Most applicants play for their village club which is usually supported by local patrons. It is difficult to gauge a player’s skill or standing in the sport as there is no formal structure at this level,” the report pointed out.

“Misrepresentation and fraudulent documentation are of concern. Fraudulent documentation, including photo-substituted evidence of applicants playing kabaddi, have been encountered among the supporting documentation submitted with applications,” it added. (IANS)

Next Story

3 Billion Fewer Birds in United States, Canada and Mexico than 1970

A report in the journal Science says there are 3 billion fewer birds in the United States, Canada and Mexico than 1970 — a 29% drop

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Birds, United States, Canada
FILE - A western meadowlark sings in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Commerce City, Colo., April 14, 2019. According to a study, there are 3 billion fewer wild birds in North America than in 1970. VOA

If the skies above North America seem quieter, it’s because of the massive drop in the bird population in the past 50 years. Birds.

A report in the journal Science says there are 3 billion fewer birds in the United States, Canada and Mexico than 1970 — a 29% drop.

Conservationists call it a widespread ecological crisis.

“One of the scary things about the results is that it is happening right under our eyes. We might not even notice it until it is too late,” lead author of the study Kenneth Rosenberg of Cornell University says.

Birds, United States, Canada

If the skies above North America seem quieter, it’s because of the massive drop in the bird population in the past 50 years. Pixabay

More than 90% of the losses were among 12 species with the common house sparrow at the top of the list.

The experts blame the disappearance of natural meadows and grasslands in favor of farmland for the drop.

They also say pesticides are killing the insects that many birds use for food.

“We see fields of corn and other crops right up to the horizon. Everything is sanitized and mechanized. There’s no room left for birds, fauna, and nature,” Rosenberg said.

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The study also cites free-roaming domestic cats and birds slamming into windows that reflect the sky.

But the study says the duck and goose population has actually grown since 1970 because of less hunting and more protective measures.

Ornithologists say the drop in bird populations can be reversed by simple measures including keeping pet cats inside, window treatments that can prevent birds flying into them, and avoiding pesticides and insecticides. (VOA)