Emboldened by the allegations of sexual harassment levelled by Th Ranjitha against chief coach, MK Kaushik, former India players have come out in support of the current bunch.
Former captain Sanggai Chanu told HT on Wednesday that some senior players had confronted Kaushik in 2006 over his alleged relationship with the team's then lady manager. Chanu also claimed that Helen Mary, who was captain at that time, had raised the issue with the Indian Women's Hockey Federation (IWHF) after which Chanu and Mary were dropped for the Asian Games. Chanu said senior team members had discussed the matter following complaints from players who had caught Kaushik and the manager in a compromising position.
“The junior players complained to us. It was embarrassing to see their behaviour and some senior players made it clear that such behaviour was not appropriate. Helen Mary even spoke to the federation officials. The manager came with us for the World Cup but she was dropped for the Asian Games in 2006. I was dropped and Helen Mary too was never called up,” Chanu told HT.
Another former India player from Haryana, now settled abroad, claimed Kaushik made inappropriate and vulgar comments about the girls to fellow coaches. “We got to know from others that he was making inappropriate remarks about the players’ physique. But we could not do much as senior federation officials were protecting him. Besides, we were afraid that we would not be picked again,” she said.
The former player claimed the alleged relationship between Kaushik and the manager was first reported by players after the Junior World Cup in Chile.
Both players however said Kaushik never touched a player in their presence.
Kaushik termed the allegations made in the letter and by the players as ridiculous and claimed he was ready to face a probe.
Though former IWHF secretary, Amrit Bose, denied the federation had received a complaint against Kaushik, Mary said a selector too had complained against the coach.
“I ended my career because of Kaushik. I had complained against his alleged relationship with the manager and a selector travelling with the team too raised the issue but nothing happened apart from the manager being dropped. If action had been taken then, things would have been different. In the manager's absence, he (Kaushik) started harassing the players,” said Mary.
A senior IWHF officer, from Uttar Pradesh and a former manager, said Mary's complaint was not looked into as Kaushik had pulled her up for frequently seeking leave from the camp to be with her husband and family.