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Sunday, February 25, 2024

On Teacher’s Day – Shame on you Surajit Ganguly 


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The shocking incident of the swimming coach Surajit Ganguly raping, molesting and criminally intimidating a young girl who was coaching under him is an eye-opener for parents, schools and government authorities to ask ourselves two pertinent questions – Are our children safe and have we set appropriate check mechanisms to ensure their safety from sexual predators that lurk on our streets, our schools, our training centres, our religious institutions and in our homes.

It is sad that the incident of the swimming coach raping and molesting the young girl at different instances has come up on a day when globally we celebrate Teacher’s Day. 

Surajit Ganguly was a swimming coach and he thought he had the rights to violate this young girl in order to satisfy his lust. It is a shame as a teacher that he could betray the teacher student relationship. He has brought disgrace and shame to coaches across India. 

The incident of the rapist Surajit Ganguly came to light after the young victim found courage to record the molestation because she knew no one would believe her if she did not have the evidence, after all he is a respected swimming coach.

Her parents noticed that her otherwise good performance in swimming competitions started to decline and the young girl was reluctant to want to be trained by the coach even though he is considered to be a very good swimming coach. After further probing; the girl shared her traumatic sexual abuse experiences with her parents and also told them that she was afraid to reveal all this because she was threatened by the coach and also made to believe that nobody would believe her.

Interestingly when the parents decide to fight this matter and take a legal recourse. They met with resistance and reluctance from the police station in Kolkata where they went to file their complaint of sexual abuse of a minor. This in a state whose Chief Minister is a woman and is an advocate of defending the human rights of women in India. The police refused to file the complaint against the swimming coach.

Even in Goa, while the Swimming Federation of India sacked the swimming coach and the Union Sports Minister of India put out a tweet stating that the government of India would ensure that Surajit Ganguly would not be employed as a coach anywhere in India henceforth. It still took over 16-hours for the Goa police to file an FIR against the swimming coach.

It happened only after the  filing of the police complaint by the girl’s family in Kolkata and Kolkata police’s correspondence with Goa police that a case a case under Sections 376 (rape), 354 (molestation) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and Goa Children’s Act was registered against Ganguly.

Ever since the news erupted Surajit Ganguly has been untraceable. He has reportedly gone underground. The Goa police is confident of tracking him soon and bringing him to justice.

I watched the video and I was greatly disturb. As a parent, in today’s, unsafe world with sexual predators lurking in unexpected nook and corners, it is getting more difficult to protect our young innocent children. We need to fight for better mechanisms in our schools and sporting associations to ensure that our children are safe. We owe it to our children to protect them.

Surajit Ganguly is a fiend and must be arrested without any delay. He is a danger to this girl and her family; and he is a danger to other young children. He committed the rape and molestation because he believed he could get away with intimidation and coercion. 

It is brave of the young girl to come out and decide to expose this sexual predator with video evidence.

If he could do it with her, the police must investigate when Surajit Ganguly is arrested whether he performed such acts of pedophilia with other kids who were under his swimming coaching.

It is big eye-opener for parents to know the coaches or teachers they entrust the care and coaching of their children. Our young children are extremely vulnerable and some suffer silently without saying word while the sexual abusers prey from one child to another.

It is big eye-opener for government authorities and sporting associations to set guidelines of behaviour of coaches with students. The glaring error in this is the fact that a male-coach was coaching young girls. In sports coaching there is all likelihood of there being a physical contact; to a child under the care of the coach, the ability to distinguish between good touch and bad touch might be blurred due to innocence or lack of knowledge about inappropriate touches. 

It is important for school, sporting associations and government authorities to foster a habit to educate young children on the dangers of sexual abuse, habits of sexual predators and the ability to distinguish between good touch and bad touch.

While the Goa police has commenced its lookout for Surajit Ganguly it is important also for the Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamta Banerjee to investigate into the initial failure of the Kolkata police to register a complaint of sexual abuse when the girl had approached the police. If the complaint was acted upon earlier, maybe Surajit could have been arrested and the sexual predator would have been behind bars by now.

Surajit Ganguly is just one such case in the field of Indian sports. I am certain there will be many such coaches who prey on children and vulnerable adults in the Indian sporting arena. We must encourage other such victims to come out and share their stories with the government authorities and we need to set guidelines that keep a look out for sexual predators in our midst.

Surajit Ganguly deserves no mercy because he is a blot on coaches all over the country. He was respected by many people for his ability of being a good swimming coach and his skill to train future champions. He took all that admiration of the youngsters and parents; and misused it to violate this young girl, whose traumatic experience has been brought to light. I fear that she might not be the only girl. Over the years there could other girls and boys as well, who could have been violated but have kept quiet out of fear.

Our mission as India must be to #ArrestSurajitGanguly and ensure he is jailed for his crime against a minor.

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