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Haryana: "He harassed me physically and mentally..." claims junior athlete coach, demands strict action against Sports Minister Sandeep Singh
Ambala: Former national-level player and junior athlete coach in Haryana and complainant against State's sports minister Sandeep Singh over sexual harassment charges on Sunday said the Olympian continuously harassed me physically and mentally.
The alleged victim's statement came while she was walking out after meeting State Home Minister Anil Vij to seek help from him at his official residence in Ambala. "Home Minister has always helped us. Ever since he was the Sports Minister, there have been a lot of expectations from him. He has always helped. Even today I had full faith that he will hear me and will be on the side of justice," she said.
Earlier this month, the woman, who is a junior athlete coach, held a press conference at the office of the opposition party Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), wherein she alleged that the minister harassed her from February to November last year, by repeated messages on social media and had touched her inappropriately and also threatened her in messages.
During the press briefing, the alleged victim demanded that the Manohar Lal Khattar government immediately sack Sandeep Singh and set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the matter.
Notably, on Sunday, the woman told ANI that she opened up about the incident to the public after her patience went off.
"I am also a player, think how much patience I would have to tolerate such ill behaviour of this person from February till now," the woman said, adding that she didn't open up about the incident earlier as she was afraid of negative impact on the sports industry.
"I tried as much as I could. He created, such an atmosphere officially that a girl comes to him automatically," she added.
The woman reiterated that she opened up to the public only after her patience broke up.
To a question about other victims, hesitating to open up, she said, "I have full hope as soon as he resigns and is behind bars, those people will definitely come forward."
"Everyone should know how an Olympic-level athlete misbehaved with another national-level athlete," she said, demanding strict action against the minister.
However, Olympian and Haryana Sports Minister Sandeep Singh has been brushing off the allegations, levelled against him by the junior athlete coach.
The Chandigarh police have registered an FIR against the Haryana Sports Minister following a complaint by the female coach.
A case has been registered under sections 354, 354A, 354B, 342, and 506 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and begun an investigation into the matter.
Responding to the development, Haryana Sports Minister told ANI that he has handed over the responsibility of the Sports department to Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar till pending enquiry.