"Will hang myself if proven guilty...still stand by my statement": Former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Singh
Several ace grapplers including Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik have been protesting against the WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh accusing him of sexual harassment and demanding his arrest.
Former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Singh on Thursday alleged that the protesting wrestlers are changing their "demands and language" continuously and added that he still stands by his statement that he will hang himself if even one of the allegation against him is proven to be true. Several ace grapplers including Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik have been protesting against the WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh accusing him of sexual harassment and demanding his arrest
"...First they (protesting wrestlers) had some other demand and later they demanded something else. They are changing their demands and language continuously. I had said that if even one case against me gets proven, I will hang myself...I stand by my statement..," said Brij Bhushan to media in Gonda. Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chairperson Swati Maliwal on Wednesday issued a summon to the Deputy Commissioner of Police, New Delhi in a case pertaining to the wrestlers-WFI case where an identity of a minor wrestler who has accused Brij Bhushan of harassing her was revealed on social media.
In the letter to DCP, New Delhi, DCP Chairperson Maliwal wrote, "Now, a video is being circulated on social media wherein a person claiming to be the uncle of the minor survivor has revealed the identity of the survivor which is a criminal offence as per the POCSO Act." She further stated that the accused Brij Bhushan is highly influential and has not been arrested to date.
"The accused in the matter is highly influential and has not been arrested to date. The Hon'ble Supreme Court, considering the sensitivity of the case, and the direct threat to the survivors, especially the minor one, had directed the police to provide them security," summon read. The summon further pointed out that in such a scenario, the act of revealing the minor survivor's identity has to be dealt with seriously.
In this regard, DCW chief Swati Maliwal has issued a summon to the Deputy Commissioner of Police of New Delhi District seeking registration of an FIR in the matter. The Commission has asked Delhi Police to provide a copy of the FIR along with details of the accused arrested in the matter. The Commission has also asked Delhi Police to inform the reasons for not arresting the main accused Brij Bhushan Singh to date. Further, the Commission has asked Delhi Police to provide a copy of the enquiry report investigating whether the accused Brij Bhushan Singh is in any way linked to the act of revealing the identity of a minor survivor.
DCW Chief has asked DCP, New Delhi to appear before the Commission on June 2 along with an action taken report on the matter. Wrestlers protesting against the Wrestling Federation of India's president Brij Bhushan Singh should wait for the investigation to be completed, Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur said on Wednesday, asking the grapplers to trust the Delhi Police and the Supreme Court of India.
Union Minister also said that while the investigation is being done, wrestlers should not do anything which harms the sport and its players. "The wrestlers should wait for Delhi Police to conclude their investigation and not take any steps that may cause harm to the sport or aspiring wrestlers. They should trust the police, SC and the ministry while the investigation is being carried out. We all are in favour of the sport and sportspersons and want the impartial investigation to be done and action to be taken against the ones found guilty," said the minister.
Notably, the Leftist student organisations, the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) and the Students Federation of India (SFI), the students' wing of the CPI(M), have jointly declared a nationwide protest from June 4 in support of the wrestlers' protest. "DYFI and SFI demanded the immediate arrest of Brij Bhushan and to withdraw all false cases against the wrestlers immediately. Through this protest, we demand that the Prime minister should apologize for the police violence unleashed upon wrestlers," said AA Rahim, national president of DYFI, the youth wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
On Tuesday, Olympic medalist wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik alongwith Vinesh Phogat reached Uttarakhand's Haridwar to immerse their all medals including Olympic ones in the river Ganga, as a mark of their protest. But farmer leader Naresh Tikait intervened and stopped protesting wrestlers from immersing their medals in the Ganga and said that there would be a Khap meeting over the issue.
The wrestlers later issued a five-day ultimatum to the authorities to act against the WFI chief. On Sunday, India's Olympic medallist wrestlers Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia along with Vinesh Phogat and Sangeeta Phogat were detained by Delhi Police while attempting to march to the new Parliament building where they planned to stage a demonstration. FIR has been filed under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 147, 149, 186, 188, 332, 353, Section 3 of the PDPP Act, said Delhi Police.
Earlier in the day, Delhi Police sources said that till now no supportive evidence has been found to arrest the WFI president in connection with the allegations levelled by wrestlers against him. According to top sources, Delhi police will be filing its final report on the matter within 15 days. "Within 15 days we will be filing our report in the court. It could be in the form of a charge sheet or final report," they said.
"Neither he (WFI Chief) is influencing the witness nor he is destroying the evidence," they added.Amid the continuing protest against Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the United World Wrestling (UWW) on Tuesday issued a statement condemning the detention of the wrestlers on Sunday.
UWW has also expressed "disappointment over the lack of results of the investigations" against the WFI chief and threatened to suspend the federation if WFI elections are not held within 45 days. "UWW firmly condemns the treatment and detention of the wrestlers. It expresses its disappointment over the lack of results of the investigations so far. UWW urges the relevant authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the allegations," the world wrestling body said in a statement.
"UWW will request further information about the next elective general assembly from the IOA and the Ad-hoc Committee of the WFI. The 45-day deadline that was initially set to hold this elective assembly shall be respected. Failing to do so may lead UWW to suspend the federation, thereby forcing the athletes to compete under a neutral flag. It is reminded that UWW already took a measure in this situation by reallocating the Asian Championship planned in New Delhi earlier this year," it added. Earlier, on April 24, the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports announced that the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) will form an ad hoc committee to conduct the elections to the Executive Committee of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) within 45 days of its formation, to manage day-to-day affairs of the body, including the selection of athletes and making entries for the participation of players in international events. This committee will be functioning for an interim period till a new Executive Committee takes charge.
After prominent wrestlers came forward with allegations of sexual harassment against the WFI chief, earlier this year, Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur announced the formation of an oversight committee to probe allegations charges against him and some coaches. Wrestling Federation of India assistant secretary Vinod Tomar is also named as an accused in the FIR filed in the matter.
The movement has gained traction, with leading Opposition leaders also supporting the grapplers. (ANI)
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)