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Need harsher punishments but sexual harassment not rampant at our institutes: SAI

Need harsher punishments but sexual harassment not rampant at our institutes: SAI

New Delhi: The Sports Authority of India on Friday rejected criticism that sexual harassment complaints are not dealt with strictly at its institutes, asserting that a robust system is in place to tackle the menace but acknowledged that punishments should be harsher for those found guilty.

Stung by a report which claimed that 45 cases of sexual harassment were reported from 24 SAI institutes over the last 10 years, the nodal body to administer Olympic sports in the country asserted that the number of cases stands at 35 for the past decade in which action has already been taken in 14.

Also, it said that a "robust" system and substantive "deterrents" are in place to deal with such cases. However, speaking to PTI, a top official, on conditions of anonymity, conceded that punishments, which currently range from transfers to cuts in pay and pension to suspensions, ought to be more stringent.

"I agree the punishments need to be harsher but it's a policy decision, which can only be changed at the Ministerial level," he said.

SAI said as per its 2011 to 2019 records, 35 complaints of sexual harassment have been received out of which inquiry is in progress in 15 cases.

Three were found to be false allegations, while two accused were acquitted by the court. One accused committed suicide while another complaint was withdrawn. Out of these 35 cases, 27 were against coaches while eight were against SAI officials. "To ensure that there is no possibility of intimidation to the complainant, the officer/coach against whom the complaint is raised is shifted from the place of posting as soon as a complaint is received,"

read an official statement from SAI.

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