Kolkata: Tanveer Hussain, the 24 year old Indian athlete, has been remanded in jail in Saranac Lake, New York, where he participated in the 2017 world snowshoe championship. Tanveer has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor girl, days after he arrived in the US for the competition, a report said.
Hussain and the team manager, Abid Khan were initially denied visa’s to travel to the U.S. in the chaotic days following the Trump administration’s travel ban, although the reasons for the rejections remain unclear. India is not among the seven countries named in Trump’s executive order. Hussain and his coach though managed to travel after campaigning by US activists and senators, Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer.
After their ordeal, Hussain and his coach were given a hero’s welcome in the bucolic town in the Adirondacks, besieged by locals offering congratulations and free lodgings at a heritage lodge.
Hussain was arrested on Wednesday after the girl’s parents reported the abuse to police, according to a report.
Police, in a statement, said that the 24-year-old had engaged in a “passionate kiss” with the 12 year old minor. The girl and her parents did not make any allegations. No accusation of force was made on the 24-year Kashmiri youth.
His lawyer, Brian Barrett has entered a not-guilty plea for him.
“They are merely allegations alone. Not only is he innocent, he is presumed innocent by law. That is how he should be seen in the community and by anyone paying attention in this case,” his lawyer said.
Abid Khan said that Hussain was not aware that the girl is a minor. “We told him (Hussain) later that she is a minor. He does not understand proper English, so he does not know,” Khan said.
Muddasir Mir, the president of the SnowShoe Federation of India, confirmed Hussain’s arrest and said that the next court hearing is set for Monday.
“It’s an unfortunate situation, both for the community there in the U.S. who supported us and the federation,” Mir said.
“We have full faith in the American law and as there is a court proceeding going on, that is going to be my only comment.”
(With inputs from NDTV)