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Shocking revelation: A female athlete accuses Hima Das’ coach Nipon Das of sexual assault

Hima Das became an overnight star in India after she became India’s first-ever athlete to win a gold medal in a track event on the global stage. She clinched the medal in the 400m race at the IAAF World U-20 Championships in Finland.

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Shocking revelation: A female athlete accuses Hima Das’ coach Nipon Das of sexual assault
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Hima Das became an overnight star in India after she became India’s first-ever athlete to win a gold medal in a track event on the global stage. She clinched the medal in the 400m race at the IAAF World U-20 Championships in Finland.

Nipon Das, who is her coach, was massively credited for Hima’s magical journey that took a huge turn from just playing football, in muddy rice fielders beside her house in Assam, to becoming a professional athlete.

However, in a shocking revelation by another female athlete, Nipon has been accused of sexual assault. Apparently, even she trained under Nipon in Guwahati. She had been quiet all this while but has finally decided to speak up the issue.

The athlete, who chose to not reveal her name, said that the incident took place at Sarusajai Stadium in Guwahati during her training session. According to her statement, while the coach always tried to touch her during training but she mostly considered it an accident.

“In December 2017, I participated in the national level competition organised by School Games Federation of India in Haryana and during the return journey as I was getting down from the train, he hugged me tightly and I thought that that was a normal hug from sir,” she said.

The next incident which she revealed was dreadful considering majority of young female athletes have male coaches.

On May 18, when she finished her gym session, she went to her coach to seek permission to go to the washroom. However, Nipon offered to escort her saying she would face difficulty in locating the washroom.

It was Nipon who went inside first in order to confirm if there was already inside. After confirming that there was no one inside, Nipon asked her to use the washroom.

However, guessing there was something fishy about her coach, the athlete asked Nipon to leave the washroom. In return, Nipon forcefully dragged her inside.

“He undressed and jumped on my body. He also tried to remove my clothes and threatened that if revealed the incident to anyone, he would suspend me from the training and the sports event," she alleged.

After being sexually assaulted and threatened, the female athlete went home and told her mother that she would not go to train from the next day.

Although she had trained under Nipon for a year, she was never comfortable with him but never spoke about it. She went on to allege that Nipon had sexually assaulted other girls as well, just that no one ever gathered the courage to expose him because he was powerful enough to ruin careers.

Apparently, the victim’s family had filed a case against Nipon at the Basistha police station on June 22 under Sections 342/354/376/511 and 506. Although cases filed under Section 376 are non-bailable, Nipon was released on bail a day after his arrest.

While speaking about the case officer-in-charge of Basistha police station, Nabajit Das Baghri, said that the case has not been established against the accused but it has been attempted under Section 376. "When a case is registered, various charges are applied for the investigation, but it doesn't mean that the accused is charged under all the sections. The accused is arrested under a certain section after the final investigation is through and when the case is established. The case of Nipon Das is under investigation and he is under police observation till the investigation is over," said Baghri.

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