Wrestlers accuse Brij Bhushan Singh of groping, stalking, and more in sexual harassment FIR

  • Civil society has expressed support for the protest, which has also garnered attention from international sporting bodies such as the International Olympic Committee and the United World Wrestling.

Written By Mausam Jha
Updated2 Jun 2023, 01:32 PM IST
BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh (PTI Photo)
BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh (PTI Photo) (PTI)

Despite the defiant stance of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, wrestlers have come forward in the police FIR to share their distressing experiences of enduring years of sexual harassment. Some wrestlers claim to have faced indifference for not supporting Singh.

As reported by The Hindu, following the intervention of the Supreme Court on April 28, the Delhi Police filed two FIRs at the Connaught Place police station. Singh has been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including assault, sexual harassment, stalking, and common intention. Additionally, he has also been booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The police FIR also names WFI secretary Vinod Tomar.

The father of a 17-year-old girl, who has been actively participating in wrestling championships since 2016, lodged a police complaint on her behalf, The Hindu reported.

According to her father, during a championship held in India where she achieved a gold medal, the accused approached her under the guise of taking a photograph.

Singh had forcefully pulled the girl towards him and held her so tightly that she couldn’t move or free herself from his grip”.“Singh further deliberately slid his hand down her shoulder and brushed his hand against her breasts,” her father said, in the FIR.

Singh is accused of subsequently warning her about the upcoming Asian Championship trials and suggesting that if she did not cooperate with him, she would face negative consequences during the trials.

“My daughter, a young wrestler, is at the beginning of her career. She couldn’t muster the courage to face a sexual predator like the accused and as such could not make a complaint or raise these issues with the Federation as the Federation is totally under the control of the accused and works as per his dictates,” the victim’s father said in the FIR.

In the filed FIR, another wrestler stated that Singh initiated the first instance of sexual assault against her in August of the previous year.

“When I was training, the accused called me separately, to which I refused since the accused was also touching other girls inappropriately. However, he called me again, pulled up my t-shirt and touched my belly on the pretext of checking my breath,” the wrestler said.

The wrestler further said, “He used to forcefully, and against the wishes of the female athletes, try to separate them from their group and then ask inappropriately personal questions which we were not comfortable answering,” she said.

The woman mentioned in the FIR emphasized the importance of preventing the accused from perpetrating further acts of sexual harassment and exploitation. She requested the authorities to file a case against him and ensure his imprisonment.

“I informed the Prime Minister about the repeated sexual, emotional, physiological, physical trauma which was meted upon me and other female wrestlers by the accused, in conspiracy with his close aids to which, the Prime Minister reassured me that such grievances will be looked into by the Sports Ministry and I will shortly be getting a call from the Sports Ministry,” she said.

Civil society has expressed support for the protest, which has also garnered attention from international sporting bodies such as the International Olympic Committee and the United World Wrestling.

These organizations have denounced the police crackdown on the wrestlers, which coincided with the inauguration of India's new Parliament building. Furthermore, Jat farm leaders in Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Haryana have extended their solidarity to the wrestlers, pledging to strengthen the ongoing agitation.

During the wrestlers' protest on Tuesday, which involved international medal winners, assembled in Haridwar with the intention of immersing their medals in the Ganga. However, they ultimately decided against it, yet they remain steadfast in their determination to seek justice and refuse to abandon their demands.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee demonstrated her support for the wrestlers protesting in Delhi for the second day in a row. The wrestlers have been demanding the arrest of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and a BJP MP.

Leading a candlelight rally from the statue of Goshto Pal in Kolkata's Maidan area to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the Mayo Road-Dufferin Road crossing, Banerjee pledged to continue fighting for the wrestlers until they receive justice.

“There has been a POCSO case registered against the WFI chief, and despite the court’s intervention, nothing has been done by the police. Not just his resignation, the BJP leader should be arrested. I am ashamed of the incident,”  Banerjee said.

The Chief Minister, who was joined by well-known sportspersons from West Bengal as well as representatives from key sporting clubs, questioned why BJP leaders were heads of various sports bodies. “Previously, political people could not be chairman of any sports organisation. I was once the Union Sports Minister and had instituted this rule,” Banerjee said.

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First Published:2 Jun 2023, 01:32 PM IST
HomeNewsIndiaWrestlers accuse Brij Bhushan Singh of groping, stalking, and more in sexual harassment FIR

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