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International referee speaks: ‘I saw Brij Bhushan standing next to her, she freed herself… something wrong happened to her’

One complainant stated that in March of last year, as the team posed for a photo at the conclusion of the trials in Lucknow for the Asian Championships, Brij Bhushan “placed his hands on my hips” after which she tried to move away. This is detailed in the FIR filed by six adult wrestlers detailing multiple instances of claimed sexual harassment by Wrestling Federation of India president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

In his statement to the Delhi Police, Jagbir Singh, an international wrestling referee who has been in attendance since 2007, who was a few feet away from Brij Bhushan and the complainant, backed up the wrestler’s claims.

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125 witnesses against WFI president Brij Bhushan Singh:

Anurag Thakur, the Union Sports Minister, said that the police investigation, which involves around 125 probable witnesses from four states, is expected to be finished on June 15.

At least three female wrestlers have confirmed the claims, and so have an Olympian, a gold medalist from the Commonwealth Games, an international referee, and a state-level coach.

Brij Bhushan was standing close to her when I spotted him. She pulled herself, stepped away, whispered, and did so. She was next to the president when she moved towards the front. I could tell this female wrestler was uneasy by the way she was responding. Something went wrong for her; Uske saath kuchh galat hua. Although I didn’t see him perform the act, Idhar aa Ja uske haath pair khoob chalte the. He used to repeatedly touch wrestlers while urging them to come to this location and stand there, Idhar khadi ho ja. It was obvious something wasn’t right that day (during the photo shoot) based on her (the complainant’s) demeanour, according to Jagbir.

Before she could escape and proceed to the front row for the photo, the FIR claims that Singh violently grabbed her by the shoulder. According to the FIR, Singh’s “highly indecent” and “objectionable” action, which was done without the wrestler’s consent, left her speechless.

Anita, who won a gold medal at the 2010 CWG, and Jagbir are the other two witnesses our paper has spoken with. Both have at least two wrestlers’ allegations backed up.

Approximately 15 instances of sexual harassment, including 10 instances of inappropriate touching, molestation, which includes running hands over breasts and touching the navel, and several intimidation-related incidents, including stalking-have been detailed in the two FIRs that Delhi Police has filed in response to complaints from seven female wrestlers, one of whom is a minor.

It is very sad to see what our female wrestlers had to go through, especially after winning gold medals for our country. What’s even sadder is that the government is not speaking up even now after several witnesses are backing the wrestlers’ claims. Hopefully our wrestlers who made our country proud will have their justice.  

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