Indian Grandmaster Dronavalli Harika among women chess players targeted by sexually abusive mails

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New Delhi– Indian Grandmaster Dronavalli Harika was the target of a sexually abusive mail while at a tournament in Latvia last November. According to the Russian media, about 15 female chess players who participated in the tournament received letters of sexual harassment.

The Indian GM, who is ranked 11th in the world, said that she received anonymous mail during the tournament in Latvia.

“The police asked me whether I wanted to open the envelope for myself and stay back in Riga to be a part of the investigations,” Harika was quoted as saying by ESPN.

Harika, who was the lone target of the five Indian female players at the tournament, said “Of course, I was more than happy to not have anything to do with the envelope or its contents and signed a no-objection authorising FIDE to be a part of the investigation on my behalf. It was a really strange feeling. I didn’t know what to make of the whole experience. Perhaps had I opened the envelope unknowingly, I would have reacted differ”ntly.”

Apart from Harika, the other Indian players in Riga at the time were Padmini Rout, R Vaishali, Divya Deshmukh and Vantika Agarwal.

“Most of us had no idea that something like this had been happening all these years,” WGM Padmini told ESPN. “We were horrified when we heard of it for the first time after the closing ceremony in Riga. I remember feeling really scared.”

The Grand Swiss tournament organisers in Riga and the FIDE (International Chess Federation) handled the situation professionally. The matter is now being investigated by the Latvian police, according to the world chess federation FIDE.

“FIDE took action when letters were received during the Grand Swiss tournament in Riga. We reported it to the police right away on behalf of the players, to minimize distractions to them. We can confirm that the Latvian Police took it seriously and it is actively investigating,” FIDE said in a statement. (IANS)

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