Protesting wrestlers call for WFI chief’s arrest as Delhi Police file FIRs

The Indian wrestlers sitting in protest at Jantar Mantar today said they will continue doing so despite the Supreme Court directing the Delhi Police to file an FIR based on the sexual harassment complaints they have received. The policce stated that two cases had been filed against the WFI chief.

Phogat and Olympic medallists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia have been the leading faces of the protest.
Phogat and Olympic medallists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia have been the leading faces of the protest. Photo courtesy: YouTube/CNBC TV18


One of the FIRs is over a complaint of sexual harassment by a minor, filed under the stringent Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, which gives no scope for bail.

Brij Bhushan Singh, who is also a BJP MP, told reporters he welcomed the Supreme Court's order to file the police case into allegations of sexual harassment against him.

He said the wrestlers should have waited for the report of a committee that was tasked to look into the matter before they decided to sit on a protest in Delhi's Jantar Mantar.

"I am happy with the judiciary's decision. The Delhi Police will investigate the allegations and I am ready to cooperate with them in every possible way. No one is bigger than the judiciary in this country. The order has come to file an FIR (first information report). The government had also said it had no objection to filing an FIR. I am not larger than the Supreme Court. I welcome the order," Singh told reporters.

The protesters are demanding the "immediate arrest" of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who has been accused of sexually harassing several female wrestlers.

“We still don’t have trust in Delhi police. We’ve been here for six days. An FIR should not take so long so we won’t trust them so easily this time. We still demand that he (Brij Bhushan) be put behind bars and I appeal to the PM to remove him from all positions of power, whether in parliament or wrestling. Wherever he is, he will misuse his seat. We place our faith completely in the Supreme Court,” Commonwealth and Asian Games Gold medallist Vinesh Phogat said during a press conference today.

Phogat and Olympic medallists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia have been the leading faces of the protest. 

The Supreme Court has not disposed of the case and will oversee developments in the investigation. The next hearing is expected to be on May 4.

In an official order, the court directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to conduct a threat assessment and provide adequate security for one of the seven complainants who is a minor. It added that the Commissioner is free to conduct a similar threat assessment for the safety of the other six complainants as well.

The Delhi Police reportedly told the Supreme Court that a case will be filed today against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. 

The wrestlers first took to the streets in January with their charges against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and other trainers but withdrew their protest following an assurance by Sports minister Anurag Thakur. They returned to the capital city with fresh protests this week, alleging no action was taken on their charges.