India’s most famous wrestlers who struggled on their own to earn gold medals for the country are protesting to seek justice, but neither PM Modi took interest in knowing what went wrong nor those women forces of the BJP who randomly attacked all those leaders who are not part of the BJP. This issue got the BJP in trouble because the molester is none other than the BJP’s own leader, Brij Bhushan, who has a criminal history.
His career as a parliamentarian began when he entered the Lok Sabha in 1991. Brij Bhushan faces several charges, including attempted murder, punishment for dacoity, and causing the desertion of evidence. However, he has not been convicted in any one of these cases because the power corridors are always open for him. Singh, who was also named in the controversial Babri mosque demolition case, came to be known as a man of controversy in sports when he publicly slapped an athlete in Ranchi in 2021.
A video dating from December 2021 went viral on social media; however, he remained unapologetic. The next year, in August 2022, Brij Bhushan abruptly stopped the trials to select India’s representation in the 59 kg category for the World Wrestling Championship just 54 seconds after they had started. The reason that he gave was that a group of seers from Ayodhya, the chief guests at the event, was not invited to give blessings before starting the selection process.
It’s been almost three months since wrestlers began their agitation, and the BJP leader was acquitted by a MP-MLA court in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda district. He was freed of charges as no evidence was found in the 29-year-old case related to the attack on a former UP minister in the Samajwadi Party government in 1993. By now, he (Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh) should have been in jail for such serious allegations leveled against him, but even an FIR has not been registered in this case.
Bajrang Punia, c, Vinesh Phogat, Sangeeta Phogat, Satyawart Kadian, Somveer Rathi, and Jitender Kinha are some prominent names among the protesters. They held a protest in Jantar Mantar in January this year but ended it after the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports announced the formation of an ‘oversight committee’ to probe the allegations leveled against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and other coaches. The protesters, however, intensified their protest again on Sunday after filing a complaint at the Connaught Place police station on Friday stating that seven female wrestlers, including one minor, were “harassed and exploited” by Brij Bhushan in his capacity as WFI chief.
The ace wrestler said that this time they will not turn down anyone, and whoever wants to support their protest could come and join them. The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) has issued a notice to Delhi Police to register an FIR on the issue. The All India Mahila Congress also joined the protesting wrestlers. Mahila Congress president Netta D’Souza, who was spotted wiping the tears of Sakshi Malik at the protest site, said that the prime minister was asking the nation to support sportspersons and was ignoring the sexual crimes against women wrestlers.
BJP government protecting the BJP MP instead of punishing him, The Beti Bachao slogan of the BJP sounds hollow when you see sexual predators in its ranks. Finally, the Supreme Court issued notice on a plea by seven wrestlers seeking registration of an FIR against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over allegations of sexual harassment. The bench presided over by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, which perused the petition, said “there are serious allegations that are contained in the petition at the behest of… international wrestlers who have represented India with regard to sexual harassment that has been meted out to them”. The bench added that “the matter, in our view, requires the consideration of this court”. Issuing notice, the court made it returnable on Friday.
There are video recordings to prove allegations of sexual assault. The victims are seven female wrestlers. One of them was 16 years old at the time of the harassment. She had won a gold medal, and even the police personnel should be prosecuted for not registering a case under stringent sections. The BJP government might have turned out to be a mute spectator, but many have lent their support to the wrestlers.
Since Sunday, wrestlers, including Olympic medalists, have been sitting on a “dharna” at the national capital’s iconic Jantar Mantar protest site. This is the second round of their protest; the first round, in January, was called off after a meeting with Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur led to the formation of a committee to look into their allegations. However, as no action was taken against Singh, they decided to resume their protest. The BJP MP, for his part, has rubbished their allegations. We should not forget that the Indian wrestling contingent returned home with a 100 percent record from the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, with six gold, one silver, and five bronze medals. All 12 wrestlers were welcomed with the chants of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” at the airport. Some of them shake hands with Modi when it comes to their self-respect and safety, but many of us are silent.