Acting on the letter from Indian shooters alleging harassment at ISSF World Cup in Dorset, the Indian High Commission here has taken up the matter with the event’s organisers, asking them to look into the complaints.
A senior official said apart from this the Indian team’s manager at the event, M. Padmanabhan, has been called to the High Commission office on Tuesday where details of the alleged incidents of harassment would be sought from him.
The Indian shooters have alleged that they were harassed by the organisers which prompted Mr. Padmanabhan to shoot off a letter to the High Commission in London.
In his letter to the High Commissioner, Mr. Padmanabhan said the transport department officials at the event misbehaved with the Indian shooters.
Ace trap shooter and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manavjit Singh Sandhu said a couple of transport officials were very rude with the Indian contingent.
“On Friday, I had boarded the bus and one of my fellow shooters was about to get on when the driver shut the door, leaving him outside. When I protested, the driver said the shooter was not on time but the guy was just standing at the door and was not allowed to board, it’s stupid and absurd,” he said.
“It’s been going on for long. They can’t spoil the tournament like this. Shooting is a mental sport. They can’t disturb our peace of mind like this,” he added.
According to Mr. Padmanabhan’s letter, released by the National Rifle Association of India, Mr. Sandhu was insulted by the transport supervisor Mike.
“Our Indian shooters were in the process of boarding the bus from the ranges to the official hotel when the driver slammed the door shut on the Indian shooter waiting outside and left him at the range. When the other shooters on the bus strongly objected, the driver turned back and went to the supervisor of the transport dept, Mr. Mike.
“Mr. Mike then returned to the bus and yelled and screamed at our shooters and insulted them. He was very very rude and threatened the team with dire circumstances,” Mr. Padmanabhan wrote in his letter.
“Two days earlier the same transport department had forced our two women shooters, Ms. Shreyasi and Ms. Shagun to get off the bus. They were humiliated thus in front of all other competing nations,” the letter said.
“We are feeling very insecure, insulted and threatened in the current atmosphere and the shooters will be unable to give their best at their events,” Mr. Padmanabhan said.
Meanwhile, NRAI secretary Rajiv Bhatia said the operators in question were demanding part of the transport fees from the team in cash and when the manager went to a bank to encash the travellers’ cheques, they asked the Indian shooters to get off the bus.
Mr. Bhatia said the bus operators accused Manavjit of misbehaving with the vehicle driver, which was not true.
“I spoke to Manavjit who said there was no truth in the charge“.
Meanwhile, Tom Wehnham, Event Manager, ISSF World Cup Shooting, said, “We received a report from the driver of the team bus that she was verbally abused by an Indian athlete.”
He said a technical delegate of the event spoke to the driver and would talk to the Indian team before submitting a report on the basis of which a decision would be taken.