The three young female athletes, who survived an attempted suicide bid after alleged harassment by seniors at the SAI Centre in Kerala, are stable now even as a medical board was constituted by the Sports Ministry to investigate the incident.
“We have constituted a medical board (for the inquiry into the incident) and our priority is to save the lives of those athletes (girls),” Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said on the sidelines of a conference in Delhi.
In a tragic turn of events, a young athlete Aparna Ramabhadran died and three of her colleagues were battling for life after they ate a poison fruit under an apparent suicide pact following alleged harassment by seniors at the Sports Authority of India centre in Kerala.
All the four were undergoing training at the Water Sports Centre of the SAI in Alapuzha.
A stunned Sports Ministry swung into action by ordering an inquiry and directing SAI Director General Injeti Srinivas to rush to Kerala for an on the spot assessment.
The condition of the three athletes, who survived the attempt, is said to be stable. Kerala Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala, who visited the girls at the hospital, promised an unbiased probe.
Alapuzha Medical college Hospital superintendent Santosh Raghavan told PTI that the three girls continue to be critical, but their condition had stabilised. However, there is no specific antidote for the poison they consumed.
“We are trying to treat the main target organ, the heart. Teleconference with medical experts of the AIIMS, Delhi, was being held,” he said.
Aparna, the girl who lost her life, had been undergoing training at the water sports training centre of Sports Authority of India for the past five years.
Her mother Geeta said her daughter continued in the hostel despite the harassment because of the family’s circumstances.
Aparna wanted to get a job to provide a better life to her younger brother, an eighth standard student at a local school. While her father is a worker in a house boat, her mother is an anganwadi worker. All the family’s hopes rested on the rowing champion, who had brought laurels to the state.
She had apologised to her mother for taking the extreme step.
Geeta said Aparna had told her about the “mental and physical harassment” meted out to them by seniors at the SAI hostel while fighting for life at the hospital.
“Mother please forgive me. I did this due to harassment of senior ‘chechis’ (elder sisters). Will I not survive?,” Aparna was quoted as saying by her mother hours before she breathed her last.
Geeta also said her daughter had no intention of committing suicide, but took the extreme step as there was no other option before her following the continuous harassment.
“My daughter had come home for ‘Vishu’ festival on April 15 and had told me it was difficult to share a room with the seniors. When the hostel warden was informed, she had promised to shift her to another room within three months”.
But Geeta said her daughter later gave the impression that all was well at the hostel as she did not want to cause any worry to her parents.
“But in the hospital bed, while battling for her life, my child told me the truth about the seniors. Two seniors used to constantly harass Aparna and the other girls, due to which they consumed the poisonous fruit,” Geeta said.