Wrestler's Protest: 10 charges in FIRs against Brij Bhushan Singh, from groping to threats
'The Indian Express' detailed key allegations in two FIRs filed with the Delhi Police on April 28 against the former WFI president and BJP MP accused of sexual harassment
A report published by The Indian Express today, 2 June 2023, details the key allegations levied against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
The report quotes the FIR filed with the Delhi police, which speaks of "At least two instances of demanding 'sexual favours' instead of professional assistance; at least 15 incidents of sexual harassment that include 10 episodes of inappropriate touching, molestation that includes running hands over breasts, touching the navel; several instances of intimidation including stalking — and a shared sense of fear and trauma".
The report cites IPC Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to 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.
Five key allegations that the report mentions are detailed here.
1. The FIR filed by the father of a minor under Section 10 of the POCSO Act details that Singh held her tightly while pretending to get a picture clicked, squeezed her towards himself, pressed hard on her shoulder and then deliberately brushed his hands against her breasts.
2. The FIR details instances of inappropriate touching, groping athletes without consent, and forceful and deliberate contact. One wrestler says, "One day while I was out for dinner in the hotel restaurant, the accused (Singh) called me separately to his dinner table… to my utter shock and surprise and without my consent, placed his hand on my breast and groped me and then slid his hand down to my stomach."
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3. The report also details several instances of Singh groping the wrestlers on the pretext of examining their breathing. “While we were sitting he was touching his legs against mine… touched my knees…He put his hand on my breast and slid it down my stomach on the pretext of examining/checking my breathing…his only intention was to touch me inappropriately with the intent to outrage my modesty,” the FIR says.
4. Another wrestler has said that Singh offered to buy supplements in exchange for sexual favours. "To further fulfil his sexual intentions, he also tried to bribe me by offering to buy me supplements which I may require as an athlete in exchange for sexual favours,” the FIR states.
5. Singh has also been accused of intimidation and threatening. One athlete details that when she resisted his touch, he threatened to keep her out of tournaments, thereby jeopardising her career. "Since I was not comfortable [with] his behaviour, in order to escape [his] clutches, I repeatedly resisted his attempts and tried to push him away to which he (threatened): 'Zyada smart bann rahi hai kya… aage koi competition nahi khelne kya tune? (Acting too smart? You don’t want to be considered for tournaments in the future, is it?)'"
The FIR details that the wrestlers had collectively agreed to "not go alone for breakfast, lunch or dinner" as the accused was always on the lookout "to engage in inappropriate talk/gestures".
The two FIRs were filed at Connaught Place police station by the Delhi Police, after the intervention of the Supreme Court on April 28.