Post News Network
Cuttack, Oct 9: A day after a female athlete of the Spots Authority of India (SAI) centre on the premises of Barabati stadium levelled allegations of sexual harassment against coach Sushanta Ray, which led to his arrest, several athletes of the centre came out in support of the coach.
Several male and female athletes held a dharna in front of the Mahila police station Thursday and urged the officials to release Ray, who was sent to jail Thursday. The athletes said they could not have achieved their targets without the help and guidance of Ray. They claimed that Ray has been falsely implicated.
A few female athletes of the centre, meanwhile, termed the sexual harassment allegations against Ray as baseless. “Coach Ray has been guiding me for the last one year. I have never come across any objectionable qualities in him. Police should let him off with dignity,” said Rajeswari Das, an athlete. Athletes Biplabini Saha, Sabita Mahanta and Rajani Mahanta also came out in support of Ray and rubbished the allegations against him.
On the other hand, the parents of the complainant female athlete met Mahila police officials and sought the removal of Ray from the SAI centre. “Police should take steps for Ray’s removal from the centre. Our daughter must be allowed to have a safe and peaceful life at the centre,” the victim’s father, Sheikh Mamun Rashid, said.
Significantly, a panel set up by SAI authorities to probe the sexual harassment allegations said it found no evidence to substantiate the allegations of sexual harassment. “Coach Ray only slapped the girl while she was misbehaving with a few senior athletes of the centre Wednesday,” said a report submitted by the inquiry panel.
SAI Jagatpur centre in-charge Manoj Vadra said the inquiry panel comprised five officials – Sashmita Mohanty, Gitanjali Patnaik, SR Rayudu, KP Mohapatra and Surjeet Ghosh. “We will soon forward the report to SAI regional headquarters in Kolkata,” said Vadra.