Under-fire India captain Sardar Singh has issued a denial of sexual harassment charges brought against him by a British hockey player of Indian origin who filed a police complaint in Ludhiana and denied that he was engaged to the woman.
According to reports, 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.
Sardar, who is currently playing for Punjab Warriors in the ongoing Hockey India League, has denied assault reports, says NDTV.
"I know her, but it's wrong to say that I have assaulted her. I am sad to hear about such a thing." Sardar was quoted, as saying. The veteran midfielder said he is focused on Rio Olympics and will take legal recourse.
“I will speak to my lawyer about the issue. My focus is on Rio Games," Sardar said.
A report in 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.
However, Sardar Singh refuted the claims that he was engaged to the woman. "I will first see what report the police have written. Only then will I get back to reply all your questions. I was not engaged (to the complainant)," a visibly disturbed Sardar Singh told the media on Wednesday as he came out of the Chandigarh airport.
"I have just come from a game last night. I am concentrating on the next game," Sardar said, as he pulled himself away from the media questioning.
He is scheduled to participate in a match in the ongoing Premier Hockey League.
Sardar's father Gurnam Singh told reporters in Haryana's Sirsa district that his son knew the woman but denied both were engaged."
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.
She said she had called police at India’s team hotel during the World Hockey League in Antwerp last year when Sardar allegedly assaulted her. “I have filed a complaint and hope I will get justice,” she said, according to the Indian Express report.