In a shocking turn of events, serious allegations of sexual harassment have emerged against Brij Bhushan Singh, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president and a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Two First Information Reports (FIRs) were lodged with the Delhi Police on April 28, detailing at least 15 instances of sexual misconduct, intimidation, and demand for sexual favors.
The content mentioned in the FIRs have sent shockwaves through the wrestling community and ignited a protest demanding justice and the removal of Singh from his position.
The FIRs, based on complaints by six adult wrestlers and a minor wrestler, outline a series of disturbing incidents spanning from 2012 to 2022. The allegations include instances of inappropriate touching, molestation, stalking, and intimidating behavior. The wrestlers accuse Singh of subjecting them to unwanted advances and creating an environment of fear and trauma.
One of the complainants stated that the accused Brij Bhushan Singh singled out athletes from their groups and asked inappropriate personal questions they were uncomfortable answering, adding that they all traveled in groups whenever they left their rooms to avoid running into the accused alone.
The minor wrestler's father, in his separate complaint, invoked Section 10 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, which carries a prison sentence of five to seven years.
The accused (Singh) "held her tightly, pretended to take a picture, squeezed her towards himself, pressed hard on her shoulder, and then deliberately...brushed his hands against her breasts."
She "clearly told the accused (Singh) that he should stop stalking her and that she had already informed him that she was not interested in any kind of physical relationship."
The father of the minor complains that his daughter is "totally agitated and cannot be at peace any longer...She is still plagued by the accused's (Singh's) sexual harassment.
Six adult wrestlers are the subjects of the FIR, which makes several claims about Singh's impolite advances. Wrestlers have clearly made statements about BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, and how they were harassed by him in multiple different ways and in different situations.
The FIRs have invoked several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including Sections 354 (assault or criminal force with intent to outrage modesty), 354A (sexual harassment), 354D (stalking), and 34 (common intention). If found guilty, Singh could face imprisonment ranging from one to three years. The severity of the allegations, combined with the involvement of a minor, adds weight to the charges.
Singh vehemently had denied all the accusations and issued a defiant statement in the recent past challenging the wrestlers to provide evidence of their claims. He went as far as stating that he would take his own life if any accusation against him is proven true, emphasizing his willingness to accept any punishment if convicted. However, the wrestlers remain resolute in their accusations, demanding justice and calling for Singh's removal from his influential position.
The protesting wrestlers also highlight concerns about the recording of their depositions, alleging that the video equipment used during the process was manipulated. Some claim that their statements may have been tampered with or not fully recorded, potentially favoring the accused.
This raises questions about the integrity of the investigation and further emphasizes the need for a thorough and unbiased examination of the allegations.
The wrestlers' allegations have sent shockwaves through the wrestling community and the nation as a whole.
Prominent members of the victorious 1983 Indian cricket team, including legendary players Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, and Madanlal, have expressed their support for the protesting wrestlers.
In a joint statement, they appealed to the wrestlers not to hastily dispose of their hard-earned medals in the Ganges, emphasizing the significance of their achievements for the nation.
The revered cricketers acknowledged the unfortunate incidents faced by the wrestlers and called for their demands to be heard.
Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi also extended his support to the wrestlers, drawing attention to the stark contrast between their pleas for justice and the alleged safety enjoyed by the BJP MP facing serious allegations of sexual abuse.
He held the Modi government accountable for the current plight of these athletes, emphasizing the need for action.
In a further display of solidarity, Rakesh Tikait, a prominent farmer leader, announced plans to join forces with the wrestlers.
He declared that on June 9, they would gather at Delhi's Jantar Mantar and organize panchayats (community gatherings) across the country. The objective of these gatherings would be to draw attention to the wrestlers' concerns and demand resolution, including the potential imprisonment of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the accused federation chief.