The Delhi Police, late on Friday evening, registered two FIRs against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president and BJP MP, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who has been accused of sexually harassing seven women wrestlers, including one charge relating to sexual offences against a minor.
A statement from Pranav Tayal, Deputy Commissioner of Police, confirmed that two FIRs were registered in the police station in Connaught Place, New Delhi District, which was where the wrestlers had filed a complaint eight days ago.
"The first one pertains to allegations levelled by a minor victim which is registered under POCSO Act along with relevant IPC sections concerning outraging of modesty etc. The second FIR is registered for carrying out comprehensive investigations into the complaints tendered by other, adult complainants under relevant sections pertaining to outraging of modesty etc.," said Tayal.
The decision come hours after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta announced in the Supreme Court on Friday morning that Delhi Police had agreed to register an FIR against Brij Bhushan. A bench headed by the Chief Justice was hearing a petition filed by the wrestlers earlier today.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, who appeared for the wrestlers, has also asked the court to guarantee police security to a minor, who's one of the complainants. Chief Justice DY Chandrachud told the Delhi Police to make an 'adequate assessment of threat perception and provide security'. The matter will be heard again in the court after one week.
The move comes after country's top wrestlers led by Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik, and Worlds medallist Vinesh Phogat moved the Supreme Court with a petition seeking registration of an FIR against Singh.
The wrestlers, who resumed their protest on April 23, after starting it back in January, said they had raised a complaint at Connaught Place police station (in New Delhi) against Singh, but the police had refused to file an FIR.
On Thursday, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) set up a three-member ad-hoc committee to handle the day-to-day affairs of the WFI on the directions of the sports ministry. The ad-hoc committee comprises Suma Shirur, Bhupendra Singh Bajwa and a retired High Court judge, who will be named in the coming days. The committee will conduct the WFI elections within 45 days starting from Thursday.
Reacting to the protest by the wrestlers, the IOA president PT Usha said the wrestlers should have shown discipline and not taken their protest to the streets.
Thoda toh discipline hona chahiye (there should be some discipline)," she said after a meeting of the IOA's Executive Committee. "Instead of coming to us they have gone straight to the streets. It's not good for sport. Our feeling is that for sexual harassment complaints, IOA has a committee and athletes' commission. Instead of going to the street (again), they should have come to us, but they have not at all come to IOA."
However, Usha's comments were inaccurate as the IOA had formed a seven-member committee on January 20, led by Mary Kom, to investigate the wrestlers' claims when the protests had first begun. This committee was overshadowed when the sports ministry announced its own committee.
Responding to Usha's comments, Bajrang Punia, the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist and one of the protesting wrestlers, said: "She herself was an athlete and she is also a woman. We did not expect this harsh reaction from her, we expected support."
The wrestlers had earlier appealed directly to prime minister Narendra Modi and the minister in his cabinet in charge of women's affairs.
"PM Modi sir talks about 'Beti Bachao' and 'BetiPadhao', and listens to everyone's 'Mann Ki Baat'. Can't he listen to our 'mann ki baat'?", Rio Games bronze medallist Sakshi Malik asked in a media interaction with PTI. "He invites us to his home when we win medals and gives us a lot of respect and calls us his daughters. Today, we appeal to him that he listens to our 'Mann Ki Baat'."