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Rediff.com  » Sports » Women call for more representation in hockey scandal panel

Women call for more representation in hockey scandal panel

July 24, 2010 10:04 IST

The Delhi Commission of Women has expressed resentment towards the male dominated inquiry panel set up by Hockey India to investigate charges of sexual harassment against M K Kaushik, former coach of the women's hockey team.

In a letter, addressed to Sports Minister M S Gill, Barkha Singh, chairperson of DCW, wrote that the exclusion of women in the investigation panel is in violation of the Supreme Court's directive. It is imperative to have 50 percent representation of women in the sexual harassment committee to ensure fairness and objectivity.

The letter says the sex scandal is highly demoralising for sportswomen in a city that's gearing up for the Commonwealth Games. It said the DCW is willing to assist the investigation if approached.

The five-member panel is headed by Hockey India official Rajiv Mehta, and includes former Olympians Zafar Iqbal, Ajitpal Singh, and Sudarshan Pathak, the only female in the committee.

"We do not accept this male-dominated committee set up by Indian Hockey, as it is against the Supreme Court's direction. This protest has been launched to honour the courage of women hockey players," Singh told rediff.com.

She said she sent the letter after reading hockey player Ranjitha Devi's account of alleged sexual harassment by the coach in newspapers. The DCW was not aware of the misdoings otherwise.

"It was shocking to read about it in the papers; I couldn't have imagined it. If the coach is proved guilty, it will be a national shame for the country," she added.

Devi's claims have invited strong vitriol from womenfolk.

"This is just the tip of the ice-berg. It probably got exposed now, but I suspect it to be widely prevalent in the sports fraternity, except that sometimes some girls either fall prey or use it for their promotional ends. This case however is probably a case of courage and needs to be admired. Not many take the courage to expose it at this level," said former I P S officer Kiran Bedi.

Dr Girija Vyas, chairperson of the National Commission for Women, saying it is an act of shame and simply ridiculous, called upon the sports ministry to release the report of the investigation which should be out soon.

Anisha Ralhan New Delhi