A day after a British hockey player — Ashpal Kaur Bhogal — alleged sexual harassment charges against Sardar Singh, the Indian hockey captain has come out and said that the allegations against him were baseless. He, in turn, alleged that the woman had misused his social media accounts.
"My email accounts used to be with my friends but last time when I was playing in Spain, she took all the passwords from my friends," Sardar said during a press-conference. "She used to tweet from my account and then retweet it from hers. She herself had tweeted from my account that 'We'll be getting married soon.' In the last two to three years, I haven't been using my social media accounts, and I had informed all the coaches and Hockey India about it." Sardar added.
He, however, accepted the fact that he knew the woman but said that there were just friends, he also refuted the allegations that he had forced the woman to abort a pregnancy. No ring ceremony had taken place and that their family hadn't met often.
"I met her before the 2012 London Olympics on Facebook but we never met during the Olympics. We were good friends, she used to visit during the tournaments too," Sardar said.
Sardar said that he was waiting for to see the reports and then would act accordingly. He also said that he had respect for the woman but also belief in himself, while adding that his current focus is solely on hockey and doesn't want to get distracted.
On Tuesday, Firstpost obtained video footage, shot in 2012, in which the woman describes their relationship as 'stable and enriching'. She repeatedly mentions marriage as being on the cards. "We originally met over Facebook. We became much closer friends when Sardar came to visit during the Olympics Games. I was going through surgery and Sardar actually gave me tickets to watch him play and from then on we just spoke more and became closer friends. Then we met a year later in London and that’s where our love story began," Bhogal said .
In the interview, Bhogal had said that after their virtual friendship turned into love, it was their shared passion for hockey and their ‘namdhari’ traditions that got them closer. An international hockey player herself, she had undergone a knee surgery when Singh helped her recover. "Hockey and our namdhari tradition, me and Sardar are both from namdhari families, and we have a lot in common in terms of values and beliefs. Also we both play the game at an international level," Bhogal said.
Earlier, the British citizen, a resident of Leeds who was also the first Sikh player in the Britain under-19 women’s hockey team, went to the Koom Kalan police station in Ludhiana on Tuesday against Singh, alleging that he had backed out of a relationship, forced her to abort their child and is now refusing to marry her.
A report in The Indian Express says the 21-year-old, in her written complaint to the police, claimed that she has been engaged to the Indian captain for the past four years and alleged that he “mentally, physically and emotionally tortured” her.
She also alleged that Sardar forced her to abort their child last year against her wishes. SS Nagra, in charge of the Koom Kalan police station, confirmed that the matter was under investigation.
“The woman has alleged sexual harassment and filed a written complaint against national hockey captain Sardar Singh. The maternal family of the player lives near Bhaini Sahib and the woman has alleged that they met during visits to this religious sect guru. FIR has not been registered as investigation is going on,” Ludhiana Police Commissioner P S Umranangal, said adding that a “complaint is being verified” and no FIR has been registered.
The British hockey player, who has roots in Sirsa, reportedly met Sardar during the London Olympics in 2012 and has been engaged to him for the past four years.
"I met him during the London Olympics and we got to know each other better after that. We got engaged but in 2015 I got pregnant. He told me to abort the child, which I did against my wishes and without getting support from anyone," The Indian Express quoted her as saying on Wednesday.
The British resident said that Sardar “ignored and abandoned” her following the abortion and refused to get married.
"He has been ignoring me and has refused to marry me after that incident. He has harassed me emotionally, physically and mentally," she said.
The player, who was born in England and became the first British Asian woman to represent England in 2010 as part of junior women's hockey team, plays in the Investec Women's Premier League for Beeston club, said a report.