It’s been 20 days since a teen swimmer accused her coach of molesting her in a video that went viral. The family has since been shuttling between Mapusa in Goa and Hooghly in West Bengal for the case. “Although we got her school transfer certificate from Goa but my daughter wants to continue swimming. We are trying to get her admitted in an academy but currently she only swims in the pond close to the house so as not to lose practice,” the girl’s father Shankar Das tells SheThePeople.TV.

Earlier, until the video went viral and Minister of State for Sports Ministry, Kiren Rijiju put pressure on the police to take action in the case, a police station in West Bengal had taken several hours to register the girl’s complaint because the case had happened in Goa and did not fall under their jurisdiction. Das tells us that on September 11, Mapusa police visited their house in Hooghly to record the statement of the girl and him. They also took away evidence including the mobile phone on which the video was recorded and her clothes for investigation.

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Then on September 19, the girl and her father appeared before a trial court to record the statement of the girl and the next day she went through a medical checkup.

“We have arrested the accused. He is presently in judicial custody and investigation in the case is in progress,” Kapil B Nayak, Police Inspector, Mapusa Police station told us. Ganguly was arrested on September 6 in New Delhi’s Kashmiri Gate area –a day after Mapusa police registered a case against him for allegedly sexually harassing a minor girl while training her in swimming. Delhi Police had said then that they found that Ganguly was trying to escape arrest by moving cities.

Das claims that the Sports Authority of India in Delhi have called them up to admit the swimming prodigy in their facility. However, since Durga Pooja is close, they will pursue it once the festival concludes.

Das claims that the Sports Authority of India in Delhi have called them up to admit the swimming prodigy in their facility. However, since Durga Pooja is close, they will pursue it once the festival concludes.

“For my daughter swimming is everything and I feel so blessed that despite all that has happened with her, it hasn’t scared her off. She still wants to pursue her dream,” Das says adding that he doesn’t care about what other people say or think about his daughter. “I don’t believe in the thought that my daughter is my honour and just because of what happened to her, my honour is gone now. This incident will not define my daughter’s future and it cannot compel us to hide our faces and sit at home. There are so many daughters who keep such instances of harassment within themselves and never muster the courage to speak up against it. I just wish more girls show the courage my daughter has shown,” Das voices.

He reveals how the girl’s game has been affected by the entire incident, he says, “She hasn’t been able to participate in any tournament held by her school in Goa and won’t be able to… now that we aren’t in Goa anymore. That would have given her the opportunity to participate in the national championships that’s going to be held in November. That would have further given her the opportunity to play in Khelo India championship but that’s also gone now. So, this year has completely been wasted.”

“She hasn’t been able to participate in any tournament held by her school in Goa and won’t be able to… now that we aren’t in Goa anymore. That would have given her the opportunity to participate in the national championships that’s going to be held in November.”

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On September 5, the girl posted a video on YouTube in which she claimed that her coach, because of whom she had shifted from West Bengal to Goa, used to harass her during swimming sessions. The video went viral and reached MoS Rijuju who directed the Sports Authority—Goa Swimming Association to take action against Ganguly and blacklist him. The Goa Swimming Association terminated the contract of coach Surajit Ganguly and the Sports Federation of India also ensured that the coach doesn’t get any employment elsewhere across the country.

In the video the girl who is speaking in Bengali can be heard saying (this is a rough translation), “Here are some unspoken truths from the sports industry. I am a National level gold medallist in swimming. In the sports industry, many such serious issues (she refers to sexual harassment cases) have happened before and no action was taken. Such incidents have happened with many girls but they kept it to themselves under the pressure of authorities. I am taking a stand today since I believe this has to stop.  It’s been going on with me for a while and I need to protest now. If I don’t there will be another victim soon.”

Picture credit: Hindustan

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