New Delhi: Wrestlers protesting over allegations of sexual harassment against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief and BJP MP BrijBhushan Sharan Singh have now returned to duty. Delhi Police is investigating the case. Meanwhile, it was reported that the only "minor" woman wrestler who had recorded a statement against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has withdrawn her charges. Olympians Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia have a special conversation with NDTV about this whole matter.
Olympian Sakshi Malik told NDTV in an exclusive interview that one of the seven women wrestlers who accused Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexual harassment has changed her statement under pressure. He said that this statement has been changed under tremendous pressure. We are being pressured to compromise.
Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik, among the country's top wrestlers leading the protest against
Brij Bhushan Singh, claimed that the father of the "minor" was upset because of the pressure to withdraw the complaint. Sakshi Malik said that they have been demanding the arrest and custodial interrogation of the accused from day one. Because the accused is very powerful. He is influencing the investigation and witnesses. There cannot be a fair investigation without the arrest of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
"We will strategise for the future after June 15."
"The mahapanchayat today decided that they will chalk out their future course of action after June 15, the deadline given by Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur. We have not budged from our demand for his arrest. He said he did not trust the police investigation.
Bajrang Punia said that the police yesterday took a woman wrestler to the Wrestling Federation of India office despite brij Bhushan Singh's presence. When the woman asked if Bajraj Bhushan Singh was in office, the police lied and said he was not. When she came, she was scared. Bajrang Punia has accused Brij Bhushan Singh of protecting him.
"We have put everything at stake. If there is a strong charge sheet, Brij Bhushan will be arrested," he said, adding that the "minor" wrestler was not underage at the time of the incident and has recorded a fresh statement in the court. In an interview with NDTV, her father said she has changed the age-related bit in her statement. Her complaint of sexual harassment remains the same.
Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh
has earlier denied all allegations of sexual misconduct and has even issued a defamatory statement refuting all the allegations. He has denied all the allegations made by the wrestlers. "If even one allegation is proved against me, I will hang myself," he said.
How long has the wrestlers' protest been going on?
On January 18, Bajrang Punia along with Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik started a sit-in at Jantar Mantar. It was alleged that WFI president Brij Bhushan Singh sexually abused women wrestlers. After the controversy escalated on 21 January, Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur met the wrestlers and formed a committee, but the report of the committee has not been made public till date.