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Minor wrestler sexually harassed multiple times by WFI chief, claims FIR

Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh

NEW DELHI : A minor wrestler was sexually harassed by WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh multiple times, claims the FIR registered by the Delhi Police

The FIR gives the details of the harassment allegations.

“Sir, mein apne bal-boote par yaha tak aayi hu, aage bhi mehnat karke aage tak jaugi (I have come this far with my hard work and determination, and I will continue to strive forward),” said the 17-year-old wrestler in her complaint against WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who she said was holding her tightly while pretending to get a picture clicked.

The girl said, as per the FIR, that “he 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, saying ‘Tu mere ko support kar, mei tere ko support karunga, mere saath touch mein rahna (you support me, I will support you, you remain in touch with me)”.

As per the FIR filed by the minor’s father, the episode occurred in 2022, when she was 16 years old, she participated in the Sub Junior Wrestling Championship in the National Games.

The FIR further mentioned that after the minor strongly opposed Singh, he told her that the trials for the Asian Championship were soon to be held and since she was not cooperating with him, she will have to bear the repercussions in the upcoming trials.

“The accused also called my daughter to his room. My daughter was under pressure of getting her career ruined at the behest of the accused, and visited him in the room. The accused pulled my daughter towards himself and tried making forceful physical contact with her. My daughter being stunned and shell-shocked immediately freed herself from the clutches of the accused and ran outside the room,” said the FIR.

Proving their point against Singh, the complainant further stated that in May 2022, trials for the Asian Championship were being held where Singh discriminated with the minor wrestler.

“It is general practice in the trials that whichever athlete wins a gold medal in the previous bout or national championship held earlier, the said athlete is given a preference in the trials, however, let alone giving my daughter preference, all strong contenders/athletes in her weight category were made part of the same group in which she was also a member.

“The said trial was totally contrary to the prevailing practice wherein the strong athletes are always put in different groups so that they have a better chance of securing a place in the trial so that India can then be represented by the strongest athletes of the lot,” the FIR said.

“Furthermore, during my daughter’s trial, a violation of the established norms occurred. It was stated that the referee or the Mat Chairman should not belong to the same state as the participating athlete. However, in her case, she was pitted against an athlete from Delhi, and both the referees presiding over the bout and the Mat Chairman were from Delhi, which contradicted the prescribed guidelines,” said the FIR.

“Upon noticing this discriminatory practice, my daughter immediately raised objections. However, she was given an ultimatum that she either had to proceed with the match or the opposing athlete would be granted a walkover victory,” according to the FIR.

According to the FIR registered at Connaught Place police station, Singh and Vinod Tomar, the Secretary of WFI, committed the offences of using criminal force on woman with intent to outrage her modesty, sexual harassment, criminal intimidation, criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication and criminal conspiracy with the grappler.

“In September 2017 while I was training at Bellary, Karnataka for Asian Indoor Games. During the training, I suffered a serious concussion and got injured due to which I had to be hospitalised and was almost on the death bed. Since I had lost movement in all my body parts, I informed the Wrestling Federation of India by email that due to the injury suffered by me, I would not be able to participate in the upcoming Indoor Asian Games,” she further said in the FIR.

But to her utter shock and surprise, the federation without considering her emails instead issued a show cause notice to her for “indiscipline” and directed her to visit the office in Delhi.

“Though I was not in the physical state to visit the office of the federation, but out of fear of any unjust action being taken against me and in compliance with the notice, I visited the federation office. I had also taken along with me all the medical documents/records. There I met Singh, Vinod Tomar, who upon meeting, informed me that a disciplinary committee had been constituted to take the decision in relation to the show cause notice issued to me. Tomar asked me to go inside the office of the President (Singh) alone…,” she further stated.

“… In the said meeting, Singh first started scolding me for the tweet which I had posted in the past highlighting the issues of WFI and other reforms which it needed and also about my inability to play in the Indoor Asian Games, this was despite the fact that I had supplied the federation all relevant medical records and details of my injury,” she further stated.

“While all this conversation was happening, I was sitting on a different sofa from that of Singh, who was sitting slightly far away from me. However, in the next few minutes, he walked and sat right next to me on the sofa. As he sat next to me, his tone changed and he began to reassure me that no harm will come and while doing so, he started touching me inappropriately on my palm, knee, thighs and shoulders without my consent,” she had alleged in the FIR.

“I started shivering at that very moment. Suddenly, Singh called Tomar and instructed him to not act adversely against me and to let me off with a warning. I was called to the federation office the very next day also since Singh informed me that the internal committee members will come tomorrow and they will take a call on my case,” she said.

Next day, a document was brought to Singh’s office, and she was forced to sign it without being permitted to read it.

“After I signed the document, Singh asked everyone to leave his office, but I was instructed by him to remain in his office. When I also sought permission to leave he replied: “ltni kya jaldi hai, kaha jaana hai, baitho idhar he (why so much hurry, where do you have to go, sit here)”.

“While saying this, he pressed my shoulders. While we were sitting, he was touching his legs against mine and continued talking and even touched my knees. Again to my shock and surprise, he put his hand on my breast and slid it down my stomach on the pretext of examining/checking my breathing and asked me to take deep breaths, but his only intention was to touch me inappropriately with the intent to outrage my modesty. I started shivering and requested him to let me go,” according to the FIR. — IANS

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