iconimg Friday, September 04, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, September 20, 2013
There seems to be no respite for the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) from the spate of ‘bullying’ and ‘molestation’ charges being levelled against its junior shooters in international meets. Close on the heels of two shotgun marksmen being suspended for a year and six months respectively for ‘bullying’ a fellow female shooter in Germany, there is more trouble for the federation as another junior shooter was suspended for ‘misbehaving’ with a female hotel staff in Massari, Italy, where the team is training for the World Championships in Peru, and Asian Championship in Kazakhstan next month.

The boy has been withdrawn from training but has not been flown back to India, as airlines do not permit juniors to fly home unaccompanied in such cases.

NRAI president, Raninder Singh, said within five minutes of getting the news from team captain, former world champion in trap Manavjit Singh Sandhu, the 17-year-old was suspended.

“The entire Indian contingent was asked to assemble and apologise to the lady. She accepted the apology. Her statement has also been recorded,” said Raninder.

The NRAI president said the boy had been reprimanded a few months back in the previous case where two shooters were suspended. “We had called him for questioning to give evidence against the two suspended shooters a few months back and he did not turn up despite repeated requests, so we had reprimanded him,” said Raninder.

The president said the athletes’ commission would take a serious view of the incident, as this is a much bigger offence than the ‘bullying’ episode in Germany.

Asked what could be the quantum of punishment, Raninder said:“The commission will present its report within 14 days of the commencement of hearing and I presume the punishment will be very harsh.”

He conceded that the police too was called in but added no charges were pressed as the boy tendered an unconditional apology.  Raninder was at a loss to understand why such incidents were happening so regularly. “I don’t know why such things are happening. The boy is from a very, very modest background.”