(Trigger warning: details of sexual abuse)
Demanding sexual favours, inappropriate touching, multiple instances of molestation — including groping, pulling up t-shirts, touching navel and buttock, sliding hands over breasts — and use of blackmail and intimidation tactics such as stalking to silence the players.
These are some of the key allegations made in two FIRs based on the complaints of seven women wrestlers against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) Chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
The FIRs were registered on 28 April at Delhi's Connaught Place police station after the complainants approached the Supreme Court of India.
The two FIRs — accessed by The Quint — are registered under sections 354 (assault or criminal force to a woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354A (sexual harassment), 354D (stalking) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
One FIR, based on the complaint of a minor's father, also invokes section 10 of the Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, which entails five to seven years of imprisonment.
Several prominent Indian wrestlers staged a sit-in protest at Delhi's Jantar Mantar to demand the arrest of Singh, also a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Uttar Pradesh, over allegations of sexual harassment during his tenure as the WFI chief.
In their complaint, the wrestlers accused Singh of the "most inappropriate and atrocious" form of intimidation and sexual harassment. Some also claimed that the "device that was used to record their depositions before the Oversight Committee, formed by the Sports Ministry on 21 January, was being switched on and off again."
Here are the key allegations made by the complainants in the FIRs:
"While I was training, the accused (Singh) called me separately. I refused but I was called again. He pulled my t-shirt, slid his hand under it and touched my naval on the pretext of checking my breath."
"During my stay at the hotel, I noticed that none of the wrestlers ever went out alone for any activity. All female wrestlers went out in groups to avoid meeting the accused alone. He would forcefully, against the wish of the female athletes, single them out from the group and ask inappropriate questions."
"Once at a hotel, the accused caught hold of me alone and offered me some unknown edible item saying it was good for my health. This was not approved by the coach or the dietician."
"...While I was stretching/warming up on the ground on a mat, the accused came there and stood on the side watching me. While I was lying down on the mat, the accused came near me and suddenly, to my shock and surprise, leaned in on me and in the absence of my coach and without seeking my permission pulled up my t-shirt and placed his hand on my breast and slid it down my stomach on the pretext of examining my breathing and touched me inappropriately. I was so shocked by the incident that I was not able to contemplate as to what had happened with me and my body froze out of shock."
"During a visit to the WFI's office in New Delhi with my brother, I was called into the room of the accused. My brother, however, who was accompanying me was categorically asked to stay back without any reason. As soon as I entered the office of the accused, some other persons who were present in the office of the accused were directed to leave the office of the accused immediately. The accused, upon the departure of other persons, closed the door of his office. He pulled me towards himself and tried making forceful physical contact with me. Shell-shocked, I ran away from the office."
"During a team photograph session, I was standing in the last row and waiting for other wrestlers to take their position, the accused came and stood next to me. I suddenly felt a hand on my buttock. I immediately looked back and to my horror, the accused had placed his hands on my buttock. I was stunned by the actions of the accused, which were highly indecent and objectionable and without my consent. I immediately tried to move away from that spot in order to protect myself from further inappropriate touching by the accused, however, when I tried moving away, I was forcibly held by my shoulder by the accused."
"It is not the accused who is authorised to sanction leaves from the camp. Leaves have to be sanctioned by our chief coaches. However, whenever I requested the chief coach for a leave, my coach instead of protecting me shrugged off his responsibility and replied: "Tumko khud netaji se milna padega aur uske badd jo bhi action hoga, uske liye tum khud zimedaar hoge" (You will have to meet netaji and whatever action will be taken after that is on you). I was even told that my name would be cut/struck off from the camp and no trials would take place."
"...On the pretext of getting a picture clicked with me, the accused, forcefully against my will, pulled me towards him by my shoulder tightly and tried to get a picture clicked. In order to protect myself, I tried moving away from him and told him that I didn't possess a mobile phone to get a picture clicked. The accused said that he had a mobile phone and the picture could be taken on his device. Since I was not comfortable with the behaviour of the accused of forcing me, I repeatedly resisted his attempts and tried to push him away from me to which he replied by saying 'Zyada smart bann rhi hai kya? Aage koi competition nahi khelne kya tune?' (Acting too smart? You don't want to play in any tournaments in the future?"
"After I won a tournament, someone came to my room and told me that the accused is calling me to his room. I thought that since I had won the championship, he wanted to congratulate me. I went to the room where I met the accused. He made me talk to my parents on the phone, since at that time I did not possess a personal mobile phone. However, after the phone call ended, to my utter shock and surprise, the accused called me towards his bed where he was sitting and then all of a sudden, he hugged me forcefully without my permission. Due to the physical advances made by the accused towards me without my consent, I got extremely uncomfortable as I did not like the same and I started crying. Upon noticing my displeasure and resistance, the accused, in order to cover up his immoral acts and ill-intentions, told me that 'Nahi nahi, father ki tarah' (...just like a father)."
"In spite of being well aware of my resistance and clear intention of thwarting inappropriate physical advances of any sort, the accused repeatedly tried to contact me by calling on my mother's mobile number. He asked inappropriate questions on the phone call such as 'Main kaisa lag raha tha aaj (how was I looking today?)', 'Practice kaisi chal rhi hai? Mereko bata dio agar kuch chahiye ho toh (How is the practice coming along? Do let me know if you need anything)'. All the constant calling and questioning by the accused made me and my mother very uncomfortable."
"At a restaurant, the accused called me separately to his dinner table and without my consent, placed his hand on my breast and groped me. He then slid his hand down to my stomach. To my disbelief, the accused did not stop there and again moved his hand upwards to my breast. He groped my breast and then slid his hand down to my stomach and then back to my breast repeatedly, at least three to four times."
"...He approached me and hugged me tightly and didn’t let me go for good 15-20 seconds. I had to put my hand near my breast to protect myself from being groped by him."
Allegations by Minor's Father based on her complaint
"The accused, on the pretext of taking a picture with my daughter, forcefully pulled her towards himself and held her so tightly by her arms that she could not move or free herself from his grip. While holding her and pretending to get a picture clicked, the accused further squeezed her towards himself and pressed really hard on her shoulder and then deliberately slid his hand down her shoulder and brushed his hands against her breasts. While doing so, he also told her that 'Tu mereko support kar, main tereko support karunga, mere saath touch mein rahna (You support me and I will support you. Stay in touch with me)'."
"The accused also called my daughter to his room. My daughter, who was under pressure of getting her career ruined at the behest of the accused, visited him in the room. The accused pulled my daughter towards himself and tried making forceful physical contact with her. My daughter immediately freed herself from the clutches of the accused and ran outside the room."