The athletes’ commission of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has reportedly recommended stern punishment for two junior marksmen against whom charges of sexual harassment were levelled by a fellow woman shotgun shooter last month.
The shooter, following her return from an international junior competition in Suhl, Germany, in June had filed a complaint with the NRAI, after which the national body had asked the commission, headed by government observer Moraad Ali Khan, to get to the root of the allegations.
A top NRAI official told HT that though the six-member commission “could not establish charges of sexual harassment”, charges of “indiscipline, bullying, sledging and use of bad language were established” for which “the commission has recommended a ban of one year for one shooter and six months for another shotgun marksman. A written reprimand has been given to four or five other shooters,” said the official.
Officials let off
Strangely, no coaches or managers have reportedly been hauled up for the episode. Had it not been for the complaint filed by the woman shooter, the episode would have gone unreported, given that no coach or manager accompanying the team reportedly mentioned the episode in the reports submitted to the NRAI.
“The entire Suhl squad was interrogated by the commission --- comprising of Moraad, Anjali Bhagwat, Suma Shirur, Vikram Bhatnagar, Samaresh Jung and a member from an NGO,” said the official.
Asked whether another alleged case of sexual harassment during the World Cup in Acapulco, Mexico, was also discussed by the commission, the official said, “no”.
“The entire national squad (of all age groups) has been asked to assemble at the Karni Singh Ranges here today, where they will be informed about NRAI’s model code of conduct. “They will not be asked to sign bonds, but be told about the punishments,” he said.
“Henceforth, every shooting discipline in each age category will have a team captain drawn from the squad. It will be the job of team captains to keep a tab on the activities of shooters and report it to the federation,” said the official. “A joint report will also have to be submitted by the national and foreign coaches and managers accompanying the team.”
The father of the girl, who had filed the sexual harassment charges, questioned whether the use of bad language and bullying did not amount to sexual harassment. “All these come under the Supreme Court guidelines of sexual harassment,” though he added that if a ban of one year and six months has been recommended, it would be a deterrent for other marksmen.