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Wrestlers Appeal to SC for FIR Against Brij Bhushan as 7 Women Come Forward

Despite filing complaints of sexual harassment, an FIR is yet to be registered against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

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Top Indian wrestlers, who have been sitting on a dharna in New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar since Sunday, 23 April, continued their protests against the sidelined Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, whilst also moving Supreme Court for an FIR registration.

Allegations of sexual harassment were levied on Singh back in January, with the grapplers demanding his removal from the federation. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) formed an oversight committee to submit a probe report on the allegations, but with the report yet to be furnished after nearly three months, the wrestlers have now decided to continue their dharna until Singh’s arrest.

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Complaints against Singh have been recorded already in Connaught Place police station, with seven wrestlers, including a minor, ready to testify against him. The likes of Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogaty have also requested the political parties and khap panchayats to help them in their cause.

What are the latest updates on this issue?

  • Wrestlers have demanded the arrest of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. Until then, they are planning to continue their protests at the Jantar Mantar.

  • The protesting wrestlers avoided political interference in January, with Communist Party of India (Marxist) member, Brinda Karat being refused to speak at the protest stage. This time around, however, they have asked the political parties and khap panchayat leaders to help them in their movement.

  • The wrestlers have moved Supreme Court, seeking an FIR registration against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. Whilst complaints of sexual harassment against the WFI chief have been filed at the Connaught Place police station, an FIR is yet to be registered.

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Despite filing complaints of sexual harassment, an FIR is yet to be registered against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

Sakshi Malik sought help from political parties and khap panchayats.

(Photo: PTI)

Speaking to the media on Monday, Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik said “Last time, we listened to the wrong people and that ruined our protest. This time we will not do that. This time, our call is to Khap panchayats, political parties, and other players.”

Elaborating on their stance of reaching out to political parties for help, she further suggested “Political parties will not come here with their flags. They will come to see our condition. They come to receive us at airports when we get medals. So if they come in times of need, why will we stop them?”

Until we don't get justice, we will not move from here. FIR has not been registered as yet, it has been 3 days. We believe that the Supreme Court will help us in the matter. The committee had a bias from the start. For three months, we have been asking for the report. They know we have gone to the police and are going to Supreme Court so they are pressured to take out the report
Vinesh Phogat.

The three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist further claimed that the victims will come forward at the Supreme Court.

"We have received seven complaints and are currently conducting an inquiry into all of them. We will register an FIR once concrete evidence is obtained. In the course of our inquiry, we have requested a report from the Sports Ministry's probe committee that was established to investigate the accusations of sexual harassment made against the WFI chief," a senior police official confirmed, as per quotes in IANS.

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Wrestlers' Protest Against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh – Sequence of Events Over Three Months

  • Top Indian wrestlers, including Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat, staged a protest against the sidelined WFI chief, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, on 18 January, in New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar.

  • The wrestlers levied allegations of sexual harassment on Singh.

  • Taking cognizance of the protests, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) asked Singh to furnish his response within 72 hours.

  • Singh denied all allegations against him – even claiming that he will ‘hang himself’ if the sexual harassment allegations are proven to be true.

  • The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) formed a seven-member committee, chaired by MC Mary Kom, to probe into the accusations, two days after they were made public.

  • On 21 January, the wrestlers called off their dharna after multiple round of discussions with Sports Minister, Anurag Thakur, following assurance of an investigation into the matter.

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  • Two days later, MYAS announced the formation of an oversight committee, which included Mary Kom, Yogeshwar Dutt, Radhica Sreeman, Trupti Murgunde and Rajesh Rajagopalan. On 31 January, Babita Phogat was also included in the committee.

  • The committee were initially supposed to furnish their probe report in a month’s time, but on 23 February – 32 days after its formation – they were given an extension till 9 March.

  • Vinesh, however, claimed that a member of the committee was leaking sensitive information to the media, without naming anyone.

  • The IOA’s committee also did not furnish a report, claiming that investigation into a sensitive issue will require adequate time.

  • Earlier this month, Singh stated that he will not be contesting for the president’s role in the upcoming WFI elections, which are scheduled to be held in May.

  • MYAS, meanwhile, has asked the IOA to constitute an ad-hoc committee, for conducting WFI elections and looking into the affairs of the organisation.

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