More than half of the suspended Indian Boxing Federation's state units met in an "informal conclave" in New Delhi on Sunday and decided to write to the international body, seeking the appointment of an interim committee to run the sport in the country, besides conducting a "free and fair" re-election.
"Nineteen state units (out of a total of 33, leaving aside Railways and Services) were in attendance today despite being threatened. It was in no way a revolt, it was just a gathering to try and find solutions to a problem that has been there for more than a year," West Bengal Boxing Association chief Asit Banerjee, acting as the spokesperson of the state bodies, told PTI after the meeting.
"We have decided to write to the International Boxing Association (AIBA), wherein we will request them to form an interim committee to run the sport. We also want free and fair elections at a neutral venue where nobody votes under threat and there should be an AIBA representative to oversee the process. This meeting was a friendly conclave and it was not meant to cause any insecurity," he said.
The meeting, vehemently opposed by the IBF which went to the extent of calling it illegal and threatening attending members with showcause notices, went on for more than two hours.
"The funny part was that our friends from Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, two states which are aligned with the current set-up, also turned up. They were there just to know what's going on. If the meeting was illegal, why did they turn up then?" asked another official, who attended the meeting.
"Two state unit members were today turned away from the railway station to stop them from attending the meeting, that is no way to handle things," he added.
The IBF has been in suspension for a year now and no headway seems to have been made in conducting the re-elections sought by AIBA, which has threatened to bar Indian boxers from
all international events in case a new set-up is not put in place latest by December first week.
"We are requesting AIBA to be a little more active towards what is happening in India. They have to step in for things to move. They have to communicate with the state bodies," said Banerjee.
"A suspended body is dictating to us what to do and not do, AIBA has to ensure that things are done in a proper manner. Right now Mr Rajesh Bhandari (IBF Secretary) is dictating everything, that is not right," he added.
The state units, in fact, plan to meet once again after a couple of weeks.
"The next time we meet, it will probably be Kolkata or Guwahati. We will have zonal meetings to ensure that we are in the know of things. We have been completely kept in dark about the situation," he said.
On Sarurday, the wrangling within the Indian Boxing Federation continued with the IBF stating that the world body AIBA had "categorically" instructed vice-president, Brigadier Muralidharan Raja, to stay away from calling any meeting on his own.
The development comes after Raja, a former secretary general of the federation, was served a showcause for calling a meeting of various state boxing units and associations.
Raja was quoted in the media as saying "state units have unanimously decided to meet on October 6 and the idea is to form an ad-hoc body which will take over the proceedings of the meeting".