SAI has received 17 sexual harassment complaints since 2018: Sports minister Anurag Thakur

The Sports Authority of India (SAI) received 17 complaints of sexual harassment since 2018, the government said during the Question Hour in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

Replying to questions asked by seven House members, including some from the Bharatiya Janta Party, sports minister Anurag Thakur said SAI centres located in Thiruvananthapuram, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Gandhinagar, Lucknow and Delhi NCR received complaints of sexual harassment. Seven of those complaints were received in 2018, six in 2019, one in 2020 and three so far this year.

Thakur added that 16 complaints were made by employees of SAI and where the ‘occurrence has taken place within SAI Complex. “In another case, one coach of SAI has been accused of sexual harassment misconduct outside SAI premises for which criminal proceedings are underway,” Thakur said in his reply.

Last year, The Indian Express had reported that 45 cases of sexual harassment were reported at 24 centres run by the SAI, which comes under the sports ministry, between 2010 and 2019, and that many cases had dragged on for years. Following the report, former SAI director generals had said the actual number of harassment cases could be a lot higher since a lot of them aren’t reported.

Thakur, on Tuesday, said ‘due arrangements for prevention of sexual harassment and a mechanism for redressal of complaints have been put in place in all training centres of SAI.’

“Internal Complaints Committees have been set up at various centres of SAI with a senior female officer as the Chairperson of the Committee. A 24×7 call centre is also in operation in SAI where the trainees can lodge complaints. Female Coaches / female Managers are accompanied with the teams when they are going outstation,” he said.

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