SPORTS & CRIME WATCH: Manipur girls’ team takes on molester, cops & all – ra, ra, ra !!! no more Desi corruption and apathy ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH STAFF REPORTER
Guwahati, Sept. 22: The RG Baruah Sports Complex woke up to a tumultuous morning today when Manipur women, participating in the 21st Senior National Sepak Takraw Championship here, went on a rampage alleging molestation attempt by a Grade IV employee in the wee hours last night.
Not only did they bash up the employee, identified as electrician Phul Kumar Das, who was on duty at Deshbhakta Tarun Ram Phookan Indoor Stadium, they also attacked police officials, residents and visitors to the sports complex that houses the stadium.
At least five persons, including Das and one of the rampaging players, were seriously injured, eyewitnesses said. They have been admitted to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital. The others injured include police officer K. Mondal, several sportspersons, guardians of some minors who visit the complex in the morning for practice sessions in various sport disciplines and a regular at the gym.
The visiting women also smashed the stadium’s window panes and caused extensive damage to properties in the complex, including a police patrol vehicle.
“Das and an accomplice tried to molest the girls and snap their photographs with a mobile phone around 2am when they were sleeping. When the girls tried to apprehend him, he managed to escape but was finally nabbed early this morning. He was roughed up by a mob which did not involve our teammates,” one of the girls said.
Eyewitnesses said the mob locked up both the gates of the sports complex and attacked the police personnel on duty and almost everyone who tried to get in or out of the complex.
However, Sepak Takraw Federation of India (STFI) secretary general Salim Baig alleged that Assam team girls, most of whom are friends with their Manipur counterparts, started the rampage. “My officials were there at the time of the incident and they recognised some of the Assam team girls involved in the mob attack,” he alleged.
Assam Sepak Takraw Association general secretary Bishnu Ram Nunisa, however, refuted the allegation.
Manipur Sepak Takraw Association secretary S. Braja Bidhu took up the matter with the STFI and said his team would withdraw from the meet alleging lack of security.
The players finally agreed to continue participating in the tournament, which concluded this evening, after organising committee chairman Sarat Borkataki, civil administration, the police and the STFI assured them of full security till their departure.
STFI president R.S. Daggar and its secretary general offered to escort them throughout the remaining part of the meet as well as their journey upto Dimapur en route to Manipur.
The police, who are yet to receive an official complaint from the Manipur team, claimed to have taken two persons — Das and an injured woman player — in custody for investigation.
“No official complaint has been lodged. However, we have taken two persons into custody for investigation. We are inquiring as to who were involved in the assaults and damaged the vehicle,” senior superintendent of police P.C. Haloi said.
The Board of Sports of Assam (BSA) lodged an FIR with Paltan Bazar police station regarding the damage caused to the stadium, said BSA officer on special duty S.S. Roy.
The National Games Secretariat (NGS) will also initiate action against Das if he is proved guilty, its director (operations), R.P. Baruah, said.
On security deployment for the meet, Haloi said: “We have adequately deployed security personnel, including women police.” Daggar said, “Of the 25 participating states, 24 have endorsed this edition of the tournament to be one of the best organised.