Last Updated: June 07, 2023, 22:07 IST
In a complete U-turn, the father of a 17-year-old wrestler, who accused outgoing Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexual harassment, on Wednesday said they levelled such serious charges against the BJP MP in a “state of anger” after the young grappler allegedly faced “discrimination” by the WFI.
In an exclusive interview with News18, the father of the minor wrestler clarified that they have just changed the statement in the court and not withdrawn the case.
“We had levelled allegations of sexual assault in a state of anger after WFI discriminated against my daughter. Bhushan did not behave inappropriately with my daughter. We have changed my statement under Section 164 before a magistrate on June 5. I was alone in this fight as nobody helped me at that time, except the wrestlers’ fraternity. My family has been living in trauma since the matter was reported. On June 5, we clarified in the Supreme Court that there was no sexual assault by the WFI chief. But, there are allegations of discrimination against WFI,” the father said.
He continued, “We changed our statement without any greed, pressure, or fear. It is absolutely correct that my daughter is a minor. We have not withdrawn the case, just changed the statement.”
Notably, a statement under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) before a magistrate holds evidentiary value in court.
The father’s reaction in the case came hours after several media reports claimed that the minor wrestler, on whose statement a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) case was lodged against Brij Bhushan, has withdrawn her complaint.
Meanwhile, the protesting wrestlers today evening agreed to suspend their agitation till June 15 after the government assured them of filing a chargesheet against Brij Bhushan by then and holding the elections to the sports body by end of the month.
Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik met Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, who invited them for a meeting to break the deadlock, three days after Union Home Minister Amit Shah met them and discussed their demands.
After the meeting, which lasted over five hours, Malik and Punia told reporters that they have also been assured that the FIRs lodged against them will be withdrawn. The protesting wrestlers and many of their supporters were booked for violation of law and order on May 28 when they marched towards the new Parliament building without permission.
However, both Malik and Punia asserted that their agitation is not over and they have suspended their protest only till June 15 as requested by the government. The marathon meeting between wrestlers and Thakur comes amidst the government’s efforts to reach out to the top wrestlers, who have been protesting since April 23 and demanding the arrest of Brij Bhushan.
Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Thakur said the meeting was held in a “good atmosphere and in a positive manner” and that the government has accepted the demands of the protesting group.
(with inputs from PTI)