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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Allegations of sexual harassment and the murky side of Indian sporting world

Are you under an impression of hearing sexual misconduct allegations in Indian sports fraternity for the first time? Sadly, this isn’t true. Unfortunately, female wrestlers are not alone dealing with the plight of inaction for an allegation. In India, sexual harassment allegations in the sports fraternity are not new. Here are some such allegations that made headlines in the past few years:

  1. In July 2022, former Under-17 women’s coach of India, Alex Ambrose was sacked following allegations of sexual misconduct. The complaint was filed to All India Football Federation (AIFF) during the team’s Europe tour. The news was announced by Dr. S.Y. Qureshi, who is a member of committee of Administrators (CoA), which is currently running AIFF. The CoA was appointed by Supreme Court. https://twitter.com/DrSYQuraishi/status/1543442189220343808
  2. National sprint team chief coach Rakesh Sharma was accused of “inappropriate behaviour” women cyclist. The incident allegedly occurred during a camp in Slovenia. The incident was reported in June 2022. The accused was “immediately” brought back to India “to ensure safety” said Sports Authority of India (SAI) in a statement, said a news report. The SAI and Cycling Federation of India (CFI) have formed two separate inquiry committees to look into the allegation. Following this, SAI terminated the contract of chief cycling coach R.K. Sharma.
  3. At least seven female athletes came forward accusing athletics coach P Nagarajan of abuse. Initially, a 19-year-old athlete filed a complaint relating to sexual abuse against the coach. Following her complaint, seven other athletes came forward levelling similar charges against Nagarajan. After the complaint, he allegedly attempted to commit suicide but was survived. The move by athletes has been compared to ‘Me Too’ movement.
  4. A female cricketer reached out to former cricketer and MP from East Delhi Gautam Gambhir seeking help after she was allegedly harassed by her cricket coach. In January, the Delhi Police has registered an FIR in connection with the alleged molestation.
  5. Another case came to light in the year 2014 when a gymnast accused her coach Manoj Rana and fellow gymnast Chandan Pathak of making lewd comments. The incident allegedly happened during a training session at Indira Gandhi Sports Complex, Delhi. Then Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that his office was looking into the complaint after the media reported about the incident. A police case was registered against Rana and 22-year-old Pathak for harassing the women gymnast. SAI launched an inquiry in the case too.
  6. In July of 2010, a member of the Indian women’s hockey team sent an anonymous letter to the Ministry of Sports accusing coach and olympian Maharaj Kishan Kaushik of sexual harassment. As per a report by TOI, the letter said that Kaushik asked junior players for sexual favours and passed lewd comments. Kaushik resigned from the post following sexual harassment allegations.

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