oppn parties Will The Wrestlers Get Justice?

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Will The Wrestlers Get Justice?

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2024-05-10 15:50:26

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator.

Finally, the trial against former chief of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and BJP leader Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh can begin. The Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in Delhi's Rouse Avenue court complex, Priyanka Rajpoot, ordered framing of charges against Singh after the court found sufficient material on record to proceed in the matter. Charges will also be framed against Singh's aide and former assistant secretary of WFI, Vinod Tomar.

The court ordered that Singh be charged under sections 354 (outraging the modesty of a woman), 354-A (sexual harassment) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC. Tomar will be charged u/s 506. The chargesheet filed by Delhi Police on June 15 last year had mentioned the charge of stalking under section 354D which the court has dropped. The court ordered framing of charges on the allegations of five female wrestlers but discharged him in the allegation by the sixth wrestler.

Since it has taken almost 11 months for framing of charges after the chargesheet was filed, the case must now proceed at a faster speed. Singh was in a position of trust and as the chief of the WFI, it was his duty to mentor and protect the female wrestlers. Instead, as alleged, he became a sexual predator and made their life hell. The worst part is that such is the clout of Singh and his minions that the harassed wrestlers had no one to turn to before senior wrestlers like Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat, among others, took up their cause and held dharnas and returned their awards (Malik even quit the sport when Singh's aide Sanjay Singh won the WFI elections) when the government did not pay heed.

The BJP has already denied Singh a ticket from Kaiserganj but it is a measure of his clout that the ticket has gone to his younger son Karan. There are chances that Singh will intimidate witnesses and some of them may turn hostile. The prosecution must build a strong case based on evidence collected and ensure that witnesses stick to their stand in court. Only then will they be able to prove Singh's guilt and ensure justice for the wrestlers.