Athlete accuses coach Nipon Das of sexual assault

Athletics coach Nipon Das, who mentored 400m star Hima Das, has been accused of sexual assault by an athlete who trained under him in Guwahati.

A track athlete has alleged that coach Nipon Das sexually assaulted her at Sarusajai Stadium in Guwahati during her training session.    -  Ritu Raj Konwar

Athletics coach Nipon Das, who mentored 400m star Hima Das, before she emerged on the national and international stage, has been accused of sexual assault by an athlete who trained under him in Guwahati.

A track athlete has alleged that coach Das sexually assaulted her at Sarusajai Stadium in Guwahati during her training session. She alleged that the coach would often touch her and it made her uncomfortable, but she ignored them, reasoning that it could have been accidental.

According to her, Das sexually assaulted her in a washroom on May 18th after she had completed a gym session. The athlete's family filed a complaint against Das at Basistha police station on June 22. Police registered a case under different sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 376 (punishment for rape).

Police arrested Das, who got bail the next day. The case is under investigation, police said.

Reacting to the athlete's allegation, Das said on Saturday, "She made the allegation on June 22, more than a month after May 18, the day she claimed I had assaulted her sexually in a gym washroom. There were eight boys training that day and they told the police nothing of that sort happened.

"I have given a statement to the police too, told them to ask more than 20 other girls I have trained, whether I have made advances or touched them, and I will surrender if any of them say I have. I have just one question for this girl: why did she continue training with me after May 18 if I were a pervert and a bad person."

Sadhana Hojai, Secretary for Sports and Youth Welfare, Assam, met the complainant and her family, as well as Das earlier this month for a special investigation ordered by the chief minister's office. Hojai said action would be taken if the accused was found guilty.