In Britain, Indian shooters face harassment

Driver shuts bus door on team members; manager writes to High Commission

In Britain, Indian shooters face harassment

Trap champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu said a bus supervisor threatened the team with dire circumstances.

Clearly rattled by the second such incident in three days, the manager of the Indian team, M Padmanabhan, filed an official complaint with the Indian High Commissioner in London, seeking his “support and assistance” and making it clear that the incidents are “sure to affect the shooters’ concentration and thus their performance.”

The shooters were in the process of returning to their hotel from the Southern County Shooting Ranges in Dorset at 2.35 pm local time (8.05 pm IST), with world trap champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Birendeep Singh amongst the last to board the bus.

The driver slammed the door shut before Birendeep boarded the bus, ostensibly because he had arrived late. It is learnt that Sandhu pointed out that Birendeep had been just a step behind him, an appeal that fell on deaf ears.

When Sandhu and the other shooters objected strongly, the driver took them to the supervisor of the transport department, one Mike, who “yelled and screamed at our shooters and insulted them,” Padmanabhan wrote to the High Commissioner.

“He was very, very rude and threatened the team with dire circumstances. He then addressed our Indian World Champion and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Manavjit Singh, and told him to get off the bus,” Padmanabhan added.

“Mr Mike then threatened him by saying the Indian team will not be allowed to take the bus tomorrow morning. Tomorrow is competition day and naturally the shooters are very upset.”

Two days earlier, the same transport department had forced two women shooters, Shreyasi and Shagun, to get off the bus. “They were humiliated in front of all other competing nations,” Padmanabhan wrote.

“We are feeling very harassed and cannot believe we are being treated this way. The morale of the team is extremely low on account of this and is sure to affect their concentration and thus performance.

“We request that you may take this matter up with the Organising Committee of the ISSF World Cup, Dorset.”

Anger, outrage and extreme disillusionment are the dominant emotions in the Indian camp in the UK at the moment.

How that will affect their performance on Sunday is anybody’s guess.

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