The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra has said on Monday that the association is thinking on lodging a formal complaint International Olympic Committee (IOC) against Pakistan equestrian Usman Khan for purportedly naming his horse as 'Azad Kashmir'.
"I also hail from Kashmir. I have studied in Srinagar. Being the IOA president, we find it objectionable. We are studying the matter. We have not lodged a formal complaint with the IOC as we are looking into the matter properly. We will analyse the matter as it is a politically sensitive issue for India," Batra told ANI.
Batra said that the IOC rules do not permit such political messages in the games. "As per the IOC, these kinds of activities are not allowed. We will take legal advice, considering the European laws as well. We will then file an objection in due course of time. We will not delay the matter," he added.
This 12-year-old horse was earlier owned by Belinda Bellister of Australia who lived in Western Australia. Usman Khan, who has been living in Australia for 15 years bought this horse from Bellister last year and purportedly changed its name to Azad Kashmir.
Usman Khan is the first Pakistani equestrian to qualify for the Olympics and he changed his horse's name in February 2019. IOA sources have reportedly claimed that rule 50 of IOC refrains from hurting the sentiments of any nation and if filed a complaint, the Olympic quota of that country can be cancelled.
"The thing which is bothering me is that the name of the horse was changed in February 2019 and that was the time when Pulwama incident happened and in retaliation, India went for surgical strikes in Pakistan," Batra appended.
Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter bars athletes from staging political protests on the field of play or at medal ceremonies. Rule 50 of the IOC states to keep "the venues, Olympic Village and the podium neutral and free from any form of political, religious, or ethnic demonstrations".
"No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas", Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter further reads.
(With ANI Inputs)