Four members of the Bengal Table Tennis girls team were physically assaulted at a guest house in Pondicherry, team manager Partha Pratim Dutta alleged on Monday.
Dutta said some individuals forcibly entered the room where the girls, now taking part in the cadet and sub-junior national and inter-state table tennis championship, were sleeping in the wee hours on January 1 and assaulted them.
"Before entering this room, they ransacked another room where some sub-junior boys were staying," Dutta told PTI over phone from Pondicherry.
He said as the victims screamed, the other members of the contingent woke up and caught one of the assailants.
Dutta alleged that one of the boarders and some locals were among the perpetrators of the assault.
"However, after we beat up the man we had caught, some locals started threatening us if we informed the police. They also wanted us to settle the matter without going to police," Dutta said.
Dutta said the organising secretary of the tournament P Karunakaran was apprised of the incident in writing on Sunday, following which the team was shifted to another guest house.
"Karunakaran has also promised that he will inform the police and see that the guilty were punished," he said.
Asked why the Bengal team management did not lodge a formal complaint with the police on its own, Dutta said: "the way we were being threatened, we did not have the courage. Our primary aim is to ensure that the team returns to Kolkata unharmed."
Saying that they are still feeling insecure, Dutta appealed to the chief ministers of Pondicherry and West Bengal to intervene to ensure the team's safety.
Dutta said they also brought the matter to the notice of Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) president Mulk Raj Chauhan and TTFI joint secretary Mantu Ghosh.
After years of bickerings in the Bengal Table Tennis Association, the TTFI earlier this year split the state unit into three parts, giving additional recognition to WBTTA and NBTTA.
All the three units have fielded teams in the ongoing tournament.
When contacted, BTTA secretary Ashish Dutta said that he is in constant touch with the team management in Pondichery.
"We have also spoken to the organisers to provide security to the contingent," he said.