Kashmiri snowshoe racer arrested for ‘inappropriate’ behaviour in US

SRINAGAR: A Kashmir snowshoe racer who was permitted to enter US after massive public support was arrested for alleged “first degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child,” Adirondack Daily Enterprise reported.

Tanveer Hussain, 24 was arrested in Saranac Lake, New York.

“Hussain was arrested on Wednesday and accused of inappropriate sexual behaviour with an underage girl, contact which allegedly took place on Monday in the village of Saranac Lake,” the Enterprise reported.

The newspaper quoted Sgt Casey Reardon saying that he was “confident in our investigation and the results of it. There were other witnesses. Social media was involved. There’s evidence that supports the charges.”

His attorney Brian Barrett was quoted saying that Hussain is innocent till proved guilty. “These are merely allegations alone. Not only is he innocent, he is presumed innocent by law. That’s how he should be seen in the community and by anyone paying attention in this case,” the attorney was quoted saying.

Saranac Lake Village Police have accused Hussain of engaging in a “passionate kiss” with a 12-year-old girl.  “He further was accused of touching her in an intimate area over her clothing,” police reported, adding, “There was no accusation of force.  The charges result of the age differences of the individuals.  There were no other allegations made against Hussain.”

“These allegations come during a time when US visas and alleged crimes by non-American citizens have become a fiercely debated topic on the national scene,” the newspaper reported.

The embarrassing part of the crisis is that Hussain had become a “cause” for residents in Adirondacks when US denied him a visa. They campaigned to bring him and others in the team to the Adirondacks by raising funds for their travel and offering them logistics.

Hussain finished in 114th place on Saturday’s 8-kilometer championship race. He and his colleague Abid Khan had planned to leave Saranac Lake later this week, when they were scheduled to fly to New York City and then home to India.

The Enterprise story about Hussain done jointly by Chris Knight and Brian Mann was lifted by North Country Public Radio.

On February 25, the same newspapers ran a long story about the two when they toured around the village. They spent the day “checking out the World Snowshoe Championships course at Dewey Mountain Recreation Center, meeting with local school kids and participating in the event’s opening ceremonies.”

“It’s amazing to be here among the people of Saranac (Lake),” Khan had told reporter that days. “Everyone is welcoming us with open heart, hugging us, offering us something. It is amazing.”

Three weeks back when the denial of visa to them made international headlines, village Mayor Clyde Rabideau reached out for help from New York’s U.S. senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, who contacted the embassy in New Delhi. Then, they were told to resubmit their visa applications.

Once they reached their destination, some restaurants hosted them for free. Rabideau actually started a crowdfunding campaign raising more than $1,600 in seven days to cover some of their travel expenses.

US citizens had campaigned for their visa and funded part of their travel at a time when US President Donald Trump had led a campaign that non-Americans have criminal tendencies.

Considered to be an ace snowshoe racer, Hussain had represented India in Italy in 2016 winter games. Denial of visa to him had disappointed sports lovers in Kashmir.

Efforts to reach to sports authorities in Srinagar did not immediately mature.

(Pictures used in the copy were lifted from the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.)

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