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Laws being misused, are flawed: WFI chief on sexual harassment charges

He also said that when the protest first started, the key demand of the wrestlers was to have him step down from his position of WFI chief by 4 PM that day

Bharatiya Janata Party MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh

Bharatiya Janata Party MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh

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Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Singh said that laws related to sexual harassment are flawed and are being misused against him.
Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has been accused of sexually harassing young athletes, including a minor. Thousands of supporters of the wrestlers on Tuesday held a candlelight protest from Jantar Mantar to India Gate under heavy security marking a month of wrestlers' agitation against Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
"There are some flaws in the law. These laws are being misused. It is not only in my case. You could get someone from your neighbourhood who is facing these laws. The law was made with good intentions, but it is being misused by people as a weapon against the ones they have problems with of any kind," Brij Bhushan told reporters in Ayodhya on Friday.
He also said that when the protest first started, the key demand of the wrestlers was to have him step down from his position of WFI chief by 4 PM that day.
"But now, the protest is also against PM Modi, Yogi (Adityanath). Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and 'tukde tukde gang' have joined it. Protests reached Punjab and from there, Canada. Do protests against me in Canada make any sense?" he added.
"They should have gone back home after Delhi Police registered an FIR. This is no longer their (wrestlers') agitation. Some more people are involved and are misguiding wrestlers. Like Bajrang Punia had said that if he knows how to bow his head down to someone, he knows how to behead someone. What kind of language is this? Whose head do you want to cut? You used to respect Brij Bhushan a while back, used to touch his feet and now look at his language," he added.
Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat said that the wrestlers have decided to hold a women's Maha Panchayat in front of the new Parliament building on May 28.
"We have decided to hold a peaceful women's Maha Panchayat in front of the new Parliament building on May 28," she said.
Several ace grapplers including Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Sakshee Mallik have been protesting at the Jantar Mantar accusing the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexual harassment and demanding his arrest.
On May 19, the wrestlers marched from Jantar Mantar to Bangla Sahib Gurudwara in New Delhi on their 25th day of protest against Brij Bhushan.
Grapplers including Punia, Sakshi, Vinesh and others joined the march demanding the arrest of the WFI chief charged with sexual harassment of athletes.
Two separate FIRs were registered on April 28 following the Supreme Court's notice to Delhi Police into the plea filed by the wrestlers.
Earlier on April 24, The Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports announced that the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) will be forming an ad-hoc committee to conduct the elections for the Executive Committee of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) within 45 days of its formation, to manage day-to-day affairs of the body, including the selection of athletes and making entries for the participation of players in international events. This committee will be functioning for an interim period till a new Executive Committee takes charge.
Delhi Police has filed a status report on the application moved by woman wrestlers in an alleged offence of sexual offence levelled against WFI chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
The court was also informed that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been formed to investigate the matter.
Earlier this year, prominent wrestlers came forward to lead a protest against the WFI chief, following which the Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Anurag Thakur, announced the formation of an 'oversight committee' to probe allegations against the WFI, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and some coaches. Wrestling Federation of India Assistant Secretary Vinod Tomar is also named as an accused in the FIR.
The movement has gained support from opposition parties and farmer unions, with many people voicing their concerns about the alleged sexual harassment.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: May 27 2023 | 7:24 AM IST

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