After days of protesting on the streets of Jantar Mantar, the decorated Indian wrestlers, including Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, and Bajrang Punia, are finally seeing some positive response. On April 28, the Delhi Police informed of their decision to register an FIR against BJP MP and President of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) Brij Bhushan Singh. The Supreme Court was hearing the petition of 7 women wrestlers, including a minor, seeking an FIR in their sexual harassment complaint against the WFI chief. During the hearing, the apex court was informed by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was representing the Delhi Police, that the police will be filing the FIR. Previously, on Wednesday, Mehta had said that the Delhi Police, prima facie, felt that there was a need to conduct a preliminary investigation before the registration of the FIR.
However, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, who was representing the petitioners, asked for directions to ensure the safety and security of the women filing the said complaint. Appeared before a bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha, he also brought to the bench’s notice that there were over 40 cases against the accused.
The bench thus recorded the SG’s statement regarding the filing of the FIR and directed the Delhi Police to adequately assess the threat perception and provide security to the minor girl among the complainants.
“Our direction to provide security to minor girl shall not stand in the way of commissioner making independent threat perception for other complainants for security”, the bench further said, as provided by Livelaw. The court has now listed the matter for hearing next Friday.
On Tuesday, April 25, a petition had been filed by women wrestlers in the Supreme Court saying that they have attempted several times to convince the Delhi Police to register an FIR, but they failed. The petition also said that women athletes who make nation proud are facing sexual harassment, and instead of getting the support they deserve, they are being forced to run from pillar to post to get justice. It further highlighted that the accused person in this case is an influential person and is misusing the process of law to evade justice and further manipulating the legal system and obstructing justice.
As reported by TimesNow, the plea said, “It is crucial that the police take all complaints of sexual harassment seriously and register FIRs promptly and not create yet another obstacle by delaying the registration of FIR.” It also said “Failure to do so not only undermine the credibility of the police department but also emboldens perpetrators of sexual harassment, making it more difficult for women to come forward and report such incidents.”
Following the declaration of the Delhi Police decision, Vinesh Phogat stated that the assurance provided by the Delhi Police is “too little, too late.” “We’ve lost faith in the Delhi Police, but we still have faith in the Indian judiciary. Brij Bhushan should be punished,” she stated, according to TimesNow. The protesting wrestlers have also stated that they will fight until justice is served. “We’ll keep protesting until justice is served,” Sakshi Malik said.
It is important to note that this is not the first time that the women wrestlers have protested against the accused, Brij Bhushan. These wrestlers had also staged a protest against the WFI president in the month of January, accusing him of sexual harassment. The protest was called off after the central government had promised that appropriate action would be taken and that the wrestlers’ complaints would be addressed. However, the wrestlers staged another protest in April, claiming that no action was taken against Brij Bhushan, as he was able to re-gain his position as the WFI president. Despite the protests, Brij Bhushan had denied all allegations levelled against him.