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Indian athlete Tanveer Hussain from Kashmir indicted for sexual assault on a minor in the US

The judgement came four months after he was arrested on the same charges.

News 04 Aug 2017, 11:58 IST

Tanveer Hussain was in the US to participate in the World Snowshoe Championships earlier this year

Tanveer Hussain was in the US to participate in the World Snowshoe Championships earlier this year

What’s the story?

Tanveer Hussain, a 25-year-old Indian athlete from Jammu and Kashmir, has been charged in the United States with allegedly sexually abusing a minor girl when he was in the country for a race early this year. He was indicted on Thursday by the Essex County court in New Jersey for sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

The context         

Hussain was in Saranac Lake for the World Snowshoe Championships held at Dewey Mountain Recreation Center in February this year when he had established sexual contact with a 12-year-old.

He was subsequently arrested in March on charges of abusing her, two days after his race.

Heart of the matter

Hussain was arrested after the girl complained to the police that he had engaged her in inappropriate conversation before moving on to kiss her twice and grope her.

Given the choice, Hussain refused to accept the plea deal which would have at the least allowed him to return to India. He cited that he wanted to clear his name standing by his innocence.

Hussain, who openly spoke about his love for the people of Saranac Lake, especially because they had wholeheartedly supported him and ensured that his visit and participation in the competition was possible, claims to have been severely embarrassed by the situation and pleaded to the judge to help him return to his country. Due to language and communication trouble, the judge was unsure if the snowshoer had fully understood what he was being charged with.

His lawyer reported that according his story, he had been followed by the 12-year-old who he persistently kept asking to leave. Hussain’s partner claims that he wasn’t even aware that the girl was a minor. The police maintained that they had enough evidence against him regarding the case. He was remanded to the Essex County jail with a fine until the preliminary hearing took place.

Nearly four months later, the grand jury indicted him, charging him with one count of first-degree sexual abuse and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, according to a press release from Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague.

Hussain's lawyer has reportedly been heard saying that he is disappointed that the indictment was announced in a press release prior to notifying him.

The athlete had been in the news earlier as he was denied a visa for the same competition around the same time President Trump had issued an executive order banning Muslim immigrants from seven countries, although the US Embassy maintained that the latter had nothing to do with his visa getting denied.

What’s next?

While it is clear that athlete has been charged with sexual abuse, his retribution is yet to be publicized. He will most likely be sentenced for a few years in the US. His lawyer has given no further statement regarding Hussain’s reaction to the news and maintains that he is innocent and that this is just a show for the media to prey upon.

Author’s take

It certainly is a matter of shame for the country to come to terms with. The government has maintained its silence on the case until now but this calls for stricter rules regarding the behaviour of the people, not only that go out of the country to represent the nation, but also as sportspersons and human beings.

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