Suspended para swimmer Karmakar cries conspiracy in sexual harassment case

Representational Picture

Para-swimmer Prasanta Karmakar, who has been suspended for three years by the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI), today said an injustice had been done to him. "I have been suspended because I questioned the PCI for their wrongdoings. All allegations are fabricated. This is a conspiracy against me by members of the executive body of the PCI," Karmakar said.

"I have been representing the country for the last 15 years. What they have done is not just an insult to me, but also to para sports. They have no right to do this with any athlete," he added. Para swimmer Karmakar was suspended on Thursday for allegedly recording videos of female swimmers at the National Swimming Championships in Jaipur last year.

He said, " I have been accused of video graphing female swimmers, but the videographer was the father of a para swimmer whom he was recording. If the athlete's parents are not having an objection with the filming of the video then why does the PCI have a problem?"

He further said the PCI has not given prior instructions about video-graphy being prohibited on the premises. Karmakar also accused V K Dabas, Chairman of the Sports Technical Committee of the PCI of misusing his constitutional powers. "Dabas took false complaints from other people and handed over the swimmer's father to the police. Being the first Para Olympic Arjuna awadee, it was my moral duty to stand by my swimmer. It was then that I fought with the police officials and got him released."

Karmakar was also the coach of the swimming squad that represented India at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. The 37-year-old is the first disabled swimmer to represent India at the World Swimming Championship in Argentina and to bag a medal. He was also India's swimming team coach at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. "The people here could not tolerate the fact that I became the swimming coach at a young age. They are all involved in a family fiefdom," Karmakar said. He added, "They are running this conspiracy against me for long. Despite qualifying for the 2003 and 2006 Commonwealth Games, my name was not shortlisted. Whenever I have questioned them, I was being threatened because I do not have a godfather."

"Six students have been training under me. But now, their future has also been spoiled. They were truly aware that these students are capable of bringing medals in the 2020 Olympics, but they suspended me so that they could send players of their choice who could later recommend their names as coaches," the para swimmer said. He also requested the Government of India and the sports ministry to honour and award only able people. He further urged the concerned authorities to investigate the matter thoroughly to ensure justice.

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