A third person was arrested on Saturday in Uttarakhand for allegedly using casteist slurs to abuse hockey player Vandana Katariya’s family, hours after India lost to Argentina at the Tokyo Olympics earlier this week, The Times of India reported.
The police picked up 22-year-old Sumit Chauhan from his home on receiving a tip-off. Two brothers – Vijay Pal and Ankur Pal – were arrested on Thursday. Katariya’s family said that Vijay Pal is a hockey player himself and used to practise with her about seven years ago, The New Indian Express reported.
Soon after India’s loss in the Olympics semifinals on Wednesday, the upper-caste men told Katariya’s family that this happened because there were “too many Dalit players” on the team. The family also said that the men danced and burst firecrackers outside their house in Roshnabad village to mock them.
Katariya’s brother Chandra Shekhar filed a police complaint, saying it was a “caste-based attack”.
The three accused have been charged under provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
‘Shameful act’: India’s hockey captain
Meanwhile, India’s hockey captain Rani Rampal on Saturday criticised the “shameful act” of making casteist remarks about Katariya’s family, The Quint reported.
“Our team works together and is above all such things,” she added. “We belong to different religions. Some are Hindu; some are Muslim; some are Sikhs. We come from different parts of the country. Some come from the North, some from the East and South. When we play at this level, we only look at the fact that we are playing for India. We work for that Indian flag. We give our blood, sweat and tears for that flag.”
While the team received “such love and respect” despite not winning a first medal, Rampal said that lessons had to be learned to end abuse “if we want make India a sporting nation”.
The incident had triggered outrage on social media, with people pointing out that just days ago, the 29-year-old had become the first Indian woman to score a hat-trick at the Olympics. Katariya led India to a 4-3 victory against South Africa last month.
A team of four policemen have been deployed outside her house after the family sought security.