Reported by Malay Ray
Rourkela, Sep 7:
Odisha Government today initiated a probe into allegations of torture and harassment in the renowned State Sports Hostel at Panposh in Odisha’s Steel City of Rourkela that led to 28 female athletes leaving the hostel abruptly on Sunday.
All 28 inmates of the sports hostel for hockey who left the hostel on Sunday have, however, returned by afternoon today.
On the orders of Rourkela ADM K Sudarshan Chakravorty, Panposh tehsildar PK Sahoo and DIPRO Jaydev Panigrahi met the inmates of the hostels individually and ascertained from them the circumstances under which they had left the hostel.
Panposh sub collector Himanshu Sekhar Behera also met the girls at the hostel.
“Their primary complaint is against the caretaker of the hostel, who doesn’t allow them to meet even their parents during late hours. We are still investigating the chain of events. Action will be taken based on the findings,” said Pradeep Kumar Sahoo, Tehsildar.
The girls alleged that hostel in-charge Amulya Bihari Nanda misbehaved with them based on the complaint of the hostel caretaker, who was not very happy with them singing on dancing on the occasion of Guru Divas.
“They scolded us and accused us of going to the boys’ hostel. The reality is, we don’t even talk to the boys. It is unbearable when you blame us for mistakes we didn’t even commit,” rued an inmate who returned back to the hostel today.
The hostel authorities were, however, quick to refute the charges.
“The kids had a singing and dancing programme on Guru Divas. They came back to the hostel, had dinner and everything was normal. On Sunday morning, they slipped away from the hostel after I went to the Church. I don’t know what went wrong,” said the caretaker of the hostel.
It may be noted that the inmates had been alleging torture and harassment by Nanda, but no action had been taken to address their concerns. The girl inmates had left the hostel protesting mismanagement earlier too. Surprisingly, the list of inmates who left the hostel this time included the Coach of the Women’s Hockey Junior Team.
Notably, the sports hostel has been home to several national and international-level hockey players, both men and women. It is also treated as a ‘Center of Excellence’ by the state government, however, lack of infrastructure and mismanagement has always been a cause of concern at the hostel.