At least 45 complaints of sexual harassment were reported in various government run sports institutes in the last decade out of which 29 cases were against coaches, the Indian Express reported on Thursday.
The newspaper, which sought this information through an RTI query, said most cases at the 24 Sports Authority of India centres were in sports like gymnastics, athletics, weightlifting, boxing and wrestling and ranged from molestation to physical abuse
“The number could be higher as, many times, cases against coaches also might have gone unreported,” a parliamentary committee on the empowerment of women report had noted last February.
According to the report, most of the investigations have dragged on for a long time and even in cases where the accused were found guilty they were let off with leniently with punishments ranging from transfers to a small cut in pay or pension.
Former SAI Director General Jiji Thomson said most investigations are affected as girls change their statements or withdraw their allegations as they are worried about their careers.
“Most of these girls come from humble backgrounds. So they are persuaded or pressurised to change their statement or take back their complaints.
“The girls give in to the fact that their future in sports, which for many is a way out of poverty, is in the hands of the coaches. So they often give up,” Thomson was quoted as saying by the paper.
The centres from where complaints have been received include Hisar, Gandhinagar, Thiruvananthapuram, New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Aurangabad to name a few.