A woman athletics coach who has accused Haryana minister Sandeep Singh of sexual harassment was suspended on August 11, The Indian Express reported.
A Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former Indian hockey team captain, Singh was booked for sexual harassment, illegal confinement and criminal intimidation on January 31. At the time the first information information was filed, Singh was the sports minister.
Singh handed over his portfolio to Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar after the action against him.
According to the complainant, who is an international-level athlete, Singh had sexually harassed her between February and November last year when she visited his official residence in Chandigarh.
An order issued by Haryana Sports Department Director Yashendra Singh last week does not mention why the coach has been suspended. “During the suspension period, she will be entitled for subsistence allowance as admissible under Rule 83 of Haryana Civil Services (General) Rules, 2016,” the order said.
The coach told the Hindustan Times that she was suspended because she did not agree to take back her complaint.
“Pressure is being mounted on me to hammer out a compromise,” she said. “I have not been intimated the reasons for my suspension. I don’t know why they have taken this step. This is a yet another way for the government to pressurise me, but I am not going to yield.”
The woman insisted that she has been doing her work with “great discipline and regularity”, PTI reported.
“I am a sportsperson,” she added. “For four months my entry to the [athletic] tracks has been banned, what can be more painful for a sportsperson than this. My basic rights have been snatched by the sports department and the government. But I am capable to fight this battle alone. In the end, truth prevails.”
Singh, who is currently the minister of printing and stationery, has maintained that the charges levelled against him by the coach are baseless.
In January, the complainant alleged that Singh first saw her at a gym after which he contacted her on Instagram. The BJP leader had asked her to meet him since her national games certificate was pending.
The coach said that she agreed to meet Singh since her certificate had been misplaced by the National Sports Federation and she was pursuing the matter with the authorities. However, she alleged that she was molested when she went to meet him at his residence.
“He [Singh] took me to a side cabin of his residence... placed my documents on the side table and placed his hand on my foot,” the complainant said. “He said when he saw me for the first time, he liked me. He said you keep me happy and I will keep you happy.”
The complainant claimed that there are many others facing such harassment in the state sports department.
In January, the coach had also alleged that she was being offered money to remain silent and leave the country.