• Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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Indian court frames sexual harassment charges against ex-wrestling body chief

Brij Bhushan Singh has been out on bail since police filed charges against him in June last year. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

An Indian court has informed Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, former chief of India’s wrestling federation and a member of prime minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), about charges of sexual harassment and criminal intimidation against him.

The court on Friday ordered the framing of charges against Singh in a sexual harassment case lodged by six female wrestlers.

A Delhi judge stated that “the court found sufficient material on record” to frame charges of sexual harassment of five female wrestlers and outraging their modesty.

The court also discharged Singh in a complaint filed by one of the six women wrestlers. The court ordered the framing of charges for criminal intimidation against Singh. It will formally frame the charges on May 21.

The court also ordered framing of charges against co-accused and former WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar in the case.

The Delhi Police had filed a charge sheet in the case against Singh, a six-time MP, on June 15 under sections 354 (assault or criminal force to a woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354A (sexual harassment), 354D (stalking), and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

Last year, several Indian wrestlers protested for days demanding legal action against Singh following complaints by female wrestlers.

Singh denied any wrongdoing, stating, “I welcome the decision of the judiciary and now doors have opened for me… We will face this.”

Singh has been out on bail since police filed charges against him in June last year, prompted by a sit-in protest by top wrestlers.

Olympic medallist Bajrang Punia called the court decision a “big victory for the struggle of women wrestlers”.

Sakshi Malik, a 2016 Rio Olympics bronze medallist, said, “We had to sleep on the streets for many nights in the heat and rain, had to give up our good careers, only then have we been able to take a few steps forward in the fight for justice.”

Despite the charges, Singh’s son was fielded as a BJP candidate in his father’s seat in India’s general election. Singh had previously won the Kaiserganj seat in Uttar Pradesh state six times.


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