Wrestlers FIR States PM Was Informed About Singh’s Deviant Behaviour
‘PM was very reassuring, promised enquiry’
Trigger warning: The First Information Report filed by women wrestlers has distressing details of sexual assault they allege was inflicted on them by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member the Wrestling Federation Chief of India (WFI) Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
Shockingly, the FIR has also revealed that the protesting women athletes had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and informed him about the “repeated sexual, emotional, physiological, physical trauma” inflicted by the BJP member Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
“… met Mr. Narendra Modi, Honourable Prime Minister of India and felt reinvigorated after meeting him and all such negative thoughts about not being able to play for India and thoughts of committing suicide due to the mental trauma inflicted by accused no. 1 (Singh) and his close associates time and again were gone.
“I also informed the Honourable Prime Minister about the repeated sexual, emotional, physiological, physical trauma which was meted upon me and other female wrestlers by the accused no. 1 in conspiracy with his close aides to which the Hon’ble Prime Minister reassured me that such grievances will be looked into by the Sports Ministry…,” the FIR reads.
In the horrific details revealed in the FIR accessed by The Citizen, the sports women give details of how they were groped and made uncomfortable on numerous occasions. The Indian Express had first reported details from the FIRs.
According to reports, two FIRs have been filed against Singh and reveal a pattern of alleged sexual assault, harassment and intimidation between 2012 and 2022 during several championships abroad and in India.
The two FIRs were filed April 28 on the basis of complaints filed by seven complainants, including a minor, and alleged discrimination during trials and selection for championships, after they refused Singh’s alleged advances.
The first FIR is filed under Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354A (sexual harassment), 354D (stalking) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. Brij Bhushan and WFI secretary Vinod Tomar are named in the FIR.
Tomar has been accused by one of the wrestlers of forcing himself on her inside his Delhi office.
“On my visit to the federation office... I was called into the room of the accused (Tomar)... my brother, who was accompanying me, was categorically asked to stay back...The accused, upon the departure of other persons, closed the door... pulled me towards himself and tried making forceful physical contact with me," the complainant has said.
The details in the FIR revealed that the women athletes travelled in groups whenever they left their rooms to avoid running into the accused (Brij Bhushan Singh) alone, one of the complainants has claimed, adding that he singled out athletes from their groups and asked inappropriate personal questions they were uncomfortable answering.
Some of the complainants have also claimed that the device that was used to video record their depositions was being switched on and off again. The entire statement may not have been recorded, or tampered with, to favour the accused, one of them has said.
“I was called by the accused who pulled up my T-shirt, slid his hand down my stomach, and put his hand on my navel on the pretext of checking my breath,” one of the complainants said. She also claimed that the BJP MP offered her an "unknown edible" not approved by her dietician or coach, saying it would be good for her health and performance.
Another complainant said when she suffered an injury during a competition abroad, Singh allegedly said the federation would bear the cost of her treatment if she gave in to his sexual advances.
"While I was lying down on the mat, the accused (Singh) came near me and to my shock and surprise leaned in and, in the absence of my coach, without seeking my permission pulled up my T-shirt, placed his hand on my breast and slid it down my stomach on the pretext of examining/checking my breathing," another award-winning wrestler said in her complaint.
“During a visit to the WFI's office in New Delhi with my brother, I was called into the room of the accused. My brother, however, who was accompanying me was categorically asked to stay back without any reason.
“As soon as I entered the office of the accused, some other persons who were present in the office of the accused were directed to leave the office of the accused immediately. The accused, upon the departure of other persons, closed the door of his office.
“He pulled me towards himself and tried making forceful physical contact with me. Shell-shocked, I ran away from the office,” the FIR further read.
Singh has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct. On Wednesday, he issued a defiant statement, once again refuting all charges.
"If a single allegation against me is proven, I will hang myself. If you (wrestlers) have any evidence, present it to the Court, and I am ready to accept any punishment," he said.
All the complainants have described a similar pattern of inappropriate touching and molestation.
“One day while I was out for dinner in the hotel restaurant, the accused called me separately to his dinner table…to my utter shock and surprise and without my consent, placed his hand on my breast and groped me and then slid his hand down to my stomach.
“To my disbelief, the accused did not stop there and again moved his hand upwards to my breast. He groped my breast and then slid down his hand to my stomach and then back to my breast repeatedly for 3-4 times,” another complaint reads.
One of the wrestlers has also accused Singh of bribing her by offering to buy her supplements which she may require as an athlete, in exchange for sexual favours. She further said that Singh hugged her forcefully when he made her talk to her parents on the phone.
“After I won a tournament, someone came to my room and told me that the accused is calling me to his room. I thought that since I had won the championship, he wanted to congratulate me. I went to the room where I met the accused.
“He made me talk to my parents on the phone, since at that time I did not possess a personal mobile phone. However, after the phone call ended, to my utter shock and surprise, the accused called me towards his bed where he was sitting and then all of a sudden, he hugged me forcefully without my permission.
“Due to the physical advances made by the accused towards me without my consent, I got extremely uncomfortable as I did not like the same and I started crying. Upon noticing my displeasure and resistance, the accused, in order to cover up his immoral acts and ill-intentions, told me that 'Nahi nahi, father ki tarah' (...just like a father),” she said.
The complainant further stated that Brij Bhushan Singh started calling her mother in order to contact her and further harass her.
"To my horror, I realised that the accused had cleverly saved my mother's mobile number when he had made me speak to my parents on an earlier occasion after the bout.
“In spite of being well aware of my resistance and clear intention of thwarting inappropriate physical advances of any sort, the accused repeatedly tried to contact me by calling on my mother's mobile number. The accused asked inappropriate questions on the phone call.
“He used to ask, 'Mein kaisa lag raha tha aaj (how was I looking today)', 'practice kaisi chal rahi hai, mereko bata dio agar kuch chahiye ho toh (how's practice going? Let me know if you need anything).' All the constant calling and questioning by the accused made me and my mother very uncomfortable," she said.
Repeated "forceful and indecent advances" by the accused compelled her to get a new number, she further said. "My mother used to get constant calls from the accused, however, she stopped answering them after a point of time," she added.
Another wrestler accused Singh of touching her buttock while posing for a team photograph. "While I was standing in the last row (for team photograph)... the accused came and stood alongside me. I suddenly felt a hand on my buttock.
“I was stunned by the actions of the accused (Mr Singh) while they were highly indecent and objectionable and without my consent... when I tried moving away, I was forcibly held by my shoulder," she said.
Both the FIRs cite IPC Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to a woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354A (sexual harassment), 354D (stalking) and 34 (common intention), which carry a jail term of one to three years.
The FIR based on the complaint of a minor's father also invokes Section 10 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), which entails five to seven years of imprisonment.
The father said Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, "on the pretext of taking a picture with my daughter, forcefully pulled her towards himself and held her so tightly by her arms that she could not move or free herself from his grip.”
“The accused also called my daughter to his room. My daughter, who was under pressure of getting her career ruined at the behest of the accused, visited him in the room. The accused pulled my daughter towards himself and tried making forceful physical contact with her. My daughter immediately freed herself from the clutches of the accused and ran outside the room,” the
The details have led to an outrage both by the civil society and opposition. Member of Parliament Mahua Moitra took to twitter and wrote, “Groping breasts & buttocks, demanding sexual favours- read FIR by wrestlers. Hon’ble PM - do you even realise how difficult it is for women suffering sexual abuse to come out? What are the chances that so many of India’s highly decorated wrestlers are lying?”
Several prominent Indian wrestlers staged a sit-in protest at Delhi's Jantar Mantar to demand the arrest of Singh.
Meanwhile, after a day-long public meeting at Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh on June 1, a massive Khap meeting in Kurukshetra, Haryana was held on June 2.
A 31-member committee, including farmers and khap leaders, has been formed to chalk out plans on behalf of the wrestlers while a nine-member committee was formed to guide them on decisions related to the sport.