Groping, Intimidation, Stalking: Charges Against Wrestling Chief In FIRs

The FIRs are based on the complaints of seven women wrestlers at a Delhi police station last month.

New Delhi:

BJP MP and Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh allegedly touched women athletes inappropriately on the pretext of checking their breath, groped them, asked inappropriate personal questions, demanded sexual favours in exchange for the federation bearing the cost of treatment of injuries sustained during tournaments, offered “unknown edible not approved by the dietician or coach”, brushed his hands across a minor’s breast and stalked her, the First Information Reports, or FIRs, based on the complaints of seven women wrestlers at Delhi’s Connaught Place police station last month, allege. The two FIRs — one combining complaints of six wrestlers, and a separate one based on the complaint of a minor’s father — were filed on April 28, while the written complaints were submitted on April 21.

Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct. On Wednesday, he issued a defiant statement, once again refuting all charges.

“If a single allegation against me is proven, I will hang myself. If you (wrestlers) have any evidence, present it to the Court, and I am ready to accept any punishment,” he said.

The wrestlers, who have been demanding the federation chief’s removal and an overhaul of the wrestling body, accused him of intimidation and sexual harassment in the “most inappropriate and atrocious manner”. Some of the complainants have also claimed that the device that was used to video record their depositions was being switched on and off again. The entire statement may not have been recorded, or tampered with, to favour the accused, one of them has said.

All the women athletes travelled in groups whenever they left their rooms to avoid running into the accused (Brij Bhushan Singh) alone, one of the complainants has claimed, adding that he singled out athletes from their groups and asked inappropriate personal questions they were uncomfortable answering.

“I was called by the accused (Mr Singh) who pulled up my T-shirt, slid his hand down my stomach, and put his hand on my navel on the pretext of checking my breath,” one of the complainants said. She also claimed that the BJP MP offered her an “unknown edible” not approved by her dietician or coach, saying it would be good for her health and performance.

Another complainant said when she suffered an injury during a competition abroad, Mr Singh allegedly said the federation would bear the cost of her treatment if she gave in to his sexual advances.

“While I was lying down on the mat, the accused (Singh) came near me and to my shock and surprise leaned in and, in the absence of my coach, without seeking my permission pulled up my T-shirt, placed his hand on my breast and slid it down my stomach on the pretext of examining/checking my breathing,” another award-winning wrestler said in her complaint.

Vinod Tomar, Secretary of the wrestling federation, has also been accused by one of the wrestlers of forcing himself on her inside his Delhi office.

“On my visit to the federation office… I was called into the room of the accused (Mr Tomar)… my brother, who was accompanying me, was categorically asked to stay back…The accused (Mr Tomar), upon the departure of other persons, closed the door… pulled me towards himself and tried making forceful physical contact with me,” the complainant has said.

Both the FIRs cite IPC Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to a woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354A (sexual harassment), 354D (stalking) and 34 (common intention), which carry a jail term of one to three years.

The FIR based on the complaint of a minor’s father also invokes Section 10 of the Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), which entails five to seven years of imprisonment.

The father said Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, “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.”

“…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 sath touch me rehna’ (You support me, and I will support you. Keep in touch with me),” the minor’s father further said.

“She clearly told the accused (Mr Singh) she had already told him that she was not interested in having any sort of physical relationship and that he should stop stalking her…,” the minor’s complaint added.

Post source: Ndtvnews

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