A British hockey player is accusing an Indian hockey captain of coercing her into getting an abortion.
According to the Daily Mail, Ashpal Bhogal claims to have been engaged to hockey captain Sardar Singh after meeting at the 2012 Olympics. She said Singh refused to marry her after ordering her to get an abortion against her wishes in 2015.
Bhogal did abort their unborn baby after Singh “threatened and blackmailed” her “physically and emotionally,” she told police.
The Indian hockey start vehemently denied the claims’ veracity. The Times of India reports Sardar saying, “I know her but it’s wrong to say I assaulted her.”
He also rejected the accusations of coerced abortion, and said he will address the allegations once he has a break from his involvement with the Hockey India League.
He said: “Presently my full concentration in on the ongoing HIL. After last night’s match, I came to know about the allegations. Tomorrow I have a match again. It is a very serious allegation. I will look at the report and consult my lawyer. I will answer all questions but I need some time.”
The Times maintains that Bhogal is sticking to her story:
“We have been in a four-year relationship which was known to all in India and abroad. I met him during the London Olympics and he finally proposed to me during the 2014 World Cup in Hague. He then invited me to his native village where Sardar and his family formally initiated the engagement.
After this me and Sardar were expecting our first child in mid-2015. I spoke to him regarding this and he said sorry I don’t want to have the child and you must abort it immediately otherwise I won’t speak to you and there will be no contact.
So under pressure and with him also threatening and blackmailing me physically and emotionally, I aborted our child under the consultation of my parents. After this, Sardar abandoned me.”
NDTV Sports reports that Sardar Singh said: “Yes, it is true she had come to my home. Before London Olympics [in 2012] we had met through Facebook. We were good friends…I still respect her. I know my limits, I represent my country and there are so many youngsters who watch us. I have belief in myself. Whatever investigations take place, I will cooperate.”
The Times reports that Bhogal filed the recent police report “because Sardar has resorted to fraudulent means. He lied to me, cheated me, physically, mentally and emotionally abused me.”
“It has come to the point now that I need justice as a woman,” she said. “If Sardar has any self-respect, he will call me or contact my lawyers. I have full faith in Indian law and Indian judiciary.”
Accusations of forced or coerced abortions are not uncommon in countries across the world, though in some cases it can be difficult to tell what actually happened. LifeNews recently reported a high-profile lawsuit against actor Charlie Sheen, who is accused of pressuring his fiancee into aborting their unborn baby.
Many women do report feeling pressured to have abortions by a partner or family member. Several American studies indicate that at least one-half of all women who have had abortions in the United States said they were coerced to do so against their wishes.