Ugandans fume over freak accident — and Indian attitude (Roundup)

October 7th, 2010 - 7:18 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 7 (IANS) Uganda’s sports minister Thursday demanded an apology from India after three of his officials were injured, one seriously, at the Commonwealth Games Village when a security apparatus malfunctioned almost toppling their car.Even after Commonwealth Games Federation chief Michael Fennell expressed regret over the Tuesday night freak accident, Ugandan Minister Charles Bakkabulindi said he was disappointed over the conduct of Indian officials who he said did not even come to the rescue of his injured officials.

“We are not happy at all with the way the situation was handled,” the minister told IANS. “We are not happy with the police either.”

He said he had related what happened to the Ugandan delegation to his Indian counterpart M.S. Gill but he was yet to hear from him. He said the Ugandans would not attend a dinner hosted by Gill Thursday night.

“We are not here to eat,” he said. “We need an apology. And an inquest.”

Uganda’s chef de mission William Tumwine, administrative officer Iren Matovu and press attache Juliet Ochong were injured when a “tyre killer” — a spiked instrument meant to demobilize intruding vehicles — malfunctioned all of a sudden at one of the Games Village gates.

While Matovu suffered serious eye injuries and required extensive facial stitching, Tumwine suffered a head injury. Ochong had a whiplash.

Police officials admitted that the car carrying the Ugandans was damaged but insisted that the injuries to the officials were minor.

“They were taken to a polyclinic inside the Village for treatment and were discharged in a few hours,” police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat told IANS.

Sadhana Dewal, project officer at the polyclinic, said the Ugandans were “healthy and back at work”.

Bakkabulindi said he found it shocking that the Indian officials were playing down the incident.

He insisted that the injured were not treated well at the Games Village. “We don’t treat people like this in our country and here the officials are not owning up for their mistake. We expect better treatment.

“Our concern is why (the Indian) government has not come with an official apology.

“Despite making a mistake, they (police) could not even apologize. They did not come to their rescue.

“Had they apologized, we would have thought, ok, that is an accident. Our stand is why they are not coming and saying sorry to us?

“They are discriminating against some of the African countries.”

Commonwealth Games Federation chief Fennell said: “We regret (the accident) very much.” But the Ugandans clearly felt this was not enough.

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