The issue of the alleged sexual harassment of a female shooter by two juniors in Suhl, Germany, is gathering steam with the father of the girl saying that the athletes’ commission formed by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) did not comply with Supreme Court guidelines.
Speaking to HT from Bhopal, the angry father said the NRAI committee was hogwash and the two shooters would get a clean chit. “They (NRAI) are portraying it as an act of indiscipline on part of two juniors, and not looking at the more serious issue of sexual harassment.
“Is showing sexually explicit material to female shooters an act of indiscipline or sexual harassment?” asked the senior government official.
“Every organisation must have a complaints committee headed by a woman and one outside person not related to the organisation --- an NGO. The NRAI has none. The enquiry done by any other committee is not valid as per Supreme Court guidelines.”
The commission has former shotgun shooter Moraad Ali Khan as its chairman and no NGO representation. The other members of the commission are renowned shooters, Samaresh Jung, Anjali Bhagwat, Suma Shirur and Vikram Bhatnager, and Ashok Mittal.
Surprisingly, Moraad is also the government nominee, being a former athlete. He also became chairman of the athletes’ committee, a post reserved for active athletes and not former sportspersons.
Quoting from the “The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013” the father said, “The Act includes sexual harassment in sports institutes, stadiums, sports complexes among other places of work.
NRAI president Raninder Singh said, “We acted promptly and suspended the two shooters pending an inquiry. As for a male (Moraad) being the chairman of the commission, we have made (rifle shooter) Anjali Bhagwat the co-chairman. But involving an NGO is out of question as that happens in government institutions, not in an organisation like ours. “There are allegations and counter-allegations. We have to be doubly sure in such matters as it involves minors whose careers can be ruined by one wrong move,” he said.
Asked about a similar incident in Acapulco, Mexico, in March where one of the boys allegedly involved in the Suhl incident, along with a male member of the Indian contingent, allegedly entered the girls’ room, Raninder feigned ignorance. “I don’t have any information on this.”
Asked if any of the shooters’ fathers involved in the two incidents was in the athletes’ commission probing the affair, Raninder replied in the negative. “If the father of any shooter involved in the incidents is a member of the commission, he will have to recuse himself immediately.”
The International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) has clear guidelines (rule 1.15) on athletes’ commission. It is meant for maintaining cordial relations between the federation and shooters, and not dealing with issues as serious as sexual harassment. The powers to look into sexual harassment cases and other serious issues are vested with the NRAI’s governing body under Rule 15 of the constitution.