Wrestlers’ protest: Minor complainant records statement before magistrate

THE LONE minor among the seven female wrestlers, who filed police complaints alleging sexual harassment by Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, has recorded her statement before a magistrate under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

“The minor appeared before a magistrate and gave her statement on Wednesday,” a senior officer from the Delhi Police headquarters confirmed.

The police officer also confirmed that a notice had been sent to the WFI, asking it to provide certain documents and details of tournaments in which the complainants had participated. Some of the alleged incidents of sexual harassment are learnt to have occurred at tournaments where Brij Bhushan was also present.

Last week, the police recorded the statements of the complainants under Section 161 of the CrPC. However, these aren’t admissible in court. “The statements of the other six complainants are yet to be recorded before the magistrate,” the senior police officer said.

The Delhi Police has also recorded the statements of 15 witnesses linked to the case and obtained the report of the oversight committee chaired by Olympian boxer Mary Kom, that was set up to probe the sexual harassment complaints against Brij Bhushan.

“We have received a report from the oversight committee, where they have recorded the statements of the victims and others, but we have also recorded their (victims’) fresh statements for our case,” the officer said.

On Saturday, one of the protesting wrestlers, Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik, made a plea to record the statements of the alleged victims before a magistrate.

“Our statements have not been recorded under (Section) 164 and we are waiting for this. The police have been given a deadline to ensure that the statements are recorded… My request is to record our statements as soon as possible, because only then can the case move forward,” she said.

On April 21, seven female wrestlers, including the minor, had filed separate complaints of sexual harassment and criminal intimidation against the WFI president at Delhi’s Connaught Place police station. The wrestlers later approached the Supreme Court, stating that the police were not registering FIRs. Subsequently, the police registered two FIRs — one under the POCSO Act, and another based on the complaints of adult women wrestlers.

Some of India’s top wrestlers, including Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi and World Championship medallist Vinesh Phogat, have been protesting at Jantar Mantar since April 23. They have said that they will end their protest when Brij Bhushan is arrested under relevant sections.

On Wednesday, Sakshi said they were ready to take a narco test, and challenged Brij Bhushan to do the same. “I challenge WFI president to take a narco test. We are also willing to take the test. Let the truth come out in the open, who is the culprit and who is not,” she said during a media interaction.

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