Switzerland’s top junior girls’ squash player Ambre Allinckx has pulled out of the 2018 World Junior Squash Championship to be held in Chennai over concerns of safety. The 16-year old’s parents were apprehensive about sending their daughter to a country that was recently labelled the ‘most dangerous country for women‘.

Pascal Bhurin, coach of the Switzerland team, said, “Ambre Allinckx is our top-ranked women’s player. She couldn’t make it because her parents did not want. They have been reading reports on the internet about how unsafe India is for women and didn’t want to take the risk of sending their daughter over. I tried to plead with them because this is a World Championship and I felt she had a very good chance but they were very adamant and I couldn’t argue further. However, we have not experienced any disturbance so far in the country,” New Indian Express reported.

Other Teams Echo Concerns

Apart from Ambre, many other players from different countries have previously expressed their concern and hesitance in coming to India. “We heard about such issues. So I prefer that my daughter stays with the team always,” said Amir, father of Iranian Squash player Niki Shemirani (15)  New Indian Express reported. “Her safety is the primary concern. It’s also because she isn’t familiar with the country or the language.”

“We always have somebody with us. When I travel to other countries like New Zealand, I go out and feel alright. Out here, we always have a guy with us,” said Australian player Alex Haydon. She also said she doesn’t feel safe going out alone in the city and always travels in a group – that too never without a male member of her contingent, the TOI reported.

Statistics reveal a horrifying picture

Women’s safety remains a prime concern in our country. In the recent years, many cases of molestation and assault against foreign nationals in the country have been reported. Additionally, the Thomson Reuters report has created an international stir regarding the condition of women in India.

According to NCRB data, cases under “crime against women” category reported an increase of 2.9 per cent in 2016 over 2015. According to the data, in 2015, Madhya Pradesh with 4,391 cases, Maharashtra with 4,144, Rajasthan with 3,644, Uttar Pradesh with 3,025, Odisha with 2,251 and Delhi with 2,199 recorded the highest number of reported rape cases. A 2017 report by Global Peace Index had claimed India to be the fourth most dangerous country for women travellers. Such glaring numbers reflect the urgent need to take stringent measures enforcing better safety and security.

Read: IMF chief Christine Lagarde to PM Modi: Pay attention to women safety

Nimisha Bansal is an intern at SheThePeople.TV

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