Indian delegates on China trip in 'harassment' row

An Indian official has defended the behaviour of young male delegates on a recent goodwill mission to China, after allegations of repeated verbal harassment of women.

The spokesman for the ministry of sport which organised the visit said there was "nothing serious" in the remarks.

But female members of the delegation said that harassment did take place.

They said they were afraid to speak openly about the reports, which have been discussed widely in India's media.

The female members said that a small group of males within the Indian delegation were rude to their Indian counterparts and to Chinese women during their week-long tour of China.

The 100-member team returned to India on Saturday after spending 10 days in China at the invitation of the Chinese government.

"We were taken around in China in buses," one of the women in the Indian delegation told the BBC.

"Initially, it was all fun. Then some of the boys openly started passing lewd remarks about the dresses and physical attributes of us and our Chinese counterparts.

"Their targets were primarily Chinese girls - since they were wearing short skirts - but they didn't spare some Indian girls as well."

Sports and Youth Affairs ministry spokesman RK Singh said that "the boys were sitting at the back of the bus and must have been joking".

"You cannot keep quiet if you are journeying for more than an hour," he said.

"It could be that they passed remarks about others. But there was nothing serious."

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