The Athletes Commission it is.
The National Rifle Association of India’s probe into allegations of sexual harassment of junior shooters by its Kazakh coach Stanislav Lapidus drew a blank.
The complainants were six senior women shooters including Olympians Anjali Bhagwat and Suma Shirur.
The probe concluded that the sextet were lying.
The other members of the group are Ayonika Paul, Kuheli Gangulee, Tejaswani Sawant ,Lajja Gauswami and Olympian Sanjeev Rajput.
A DNA India report states that the above “accused the Kazakh of making ‘sexual overtures’ and forcing junior shooters into having ‘physical relations’ with him. They alleged that Lapidus promised the juniors ‘personal coaching’. Why, they also said he was rude, arrogant and doing everything in his power to ‘finish off’ the careers of the country’s top marksmen.”
It is believed that the senior shooters had a grievance that the coach was being too strict with them and did not care for seniority.
NRAI chief Raninder Singh said:
“When we asked Bhagwat and other shooters to substantiate their claims, they had nothing to share with us. They could not provide us the details of any incident where they felt that such sexual overtures have been made. In fact, Bhagwat herself told me that she wrote the mail in a fit of anger. The reaction of the other shooters was also the same. They said Bhagwat told them to become co-signatories and they put their names in.
In the letter, it has been mentioned that Lapidus asked one of the junior girls her age. When she said she was 17, the coach told her ‘to come back when you are 21’. That’s all. Now, where is the sexual overture in this sentence? What the coach meant was that he couldn’t impart coaching to her as he only trains shooters above the age of 21. He doesn’t look after the junior coaching programme anymore. He only deals with seniors.”
The DNA India report claims that Lapidus was traumatized by the accusations and offered to quit.
The allegations were emailed to the NRAI by Bhagwat’s husband Mandar.
Singh added that the NRAI is unable to take any action against the errant shooters since they are not contracted to the association.
The complaint will be further probed by an Athletes Commission headed by Arjuna Awardee Moraad Ali Khan.
Interestingly, Anjali Bhagwat in June was part of a probe investigating sexual harassment charges by a junior against two of her male colleagues.
Bhagwat and Shirur will be asked to recuse themselves from the committee.
According to Wikipedia,
“Sexual harassment is bullying or coercion of a sexual nature, or the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors. In most modern legal contexts, sexual harassment is illegal. As defined by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), ‘It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex.’ Harassment can include ‘sexual harassment’ or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. The legal definition of sexual harassment varies by jurisdiction. ….
Where laws surrounding sexual harassment exist, they generally do not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or minor isolated incidents. In the workplace, harassment may be considered illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted, or when the victim decides to quit the job). The legal and social understanding of sexual harassment, however, varies by culture.
In the context of US employment, the harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer, and harassers or victims can be of any sex or gender.
It includes a range of actions from mild transgressions to sexual abuse or sexual assault. Sexual harassment is a form of illegal employment discrimination in many countries, and is a form of abuse (sexual and psychological) and bullying. For many businesses and other organizations, preventing sexual harassment, and defending employees from sexual harassment charges, have become key goals of legal decision-making.”