Amid a growing campaign for his arrest over allegations of sexual harassment, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the beleaguered Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) leader and ruling BJP MP, issued a defiant statement on Wednesday, refuting once again all fillers.
“If a single allegation against me is proven, I will hang myself. If you (the wrestlers) have evidence, present it to the Court, and I am ready to accept any punishment,” he said. .
Mr Singh’s statement came on a day when Delhi police said the case against him was still under investigation, but then quickly retracted the update.
“Some media channels broadcast the news of the police filing the final report in the case filed by the female wrestlers. This news is totally untrue. court only after a full investigation,” he said in a Hindi tweet from his official account which was quickly deleted.
The tweet had appeared to clarify an anonymous statement by a Delhi police officer to some media outlets saying they had not found sufficient evidence to prove the wrestlers’ claims or warrant the influential politician’s arrest. The police will submit a report to the court within 15 days, they said.
“During the investigation so far, the police have not found sufficient evidence to arrest the head of the WFI. There is also no supporting evidence to prove their claim. wrestlers). A report will be submitted to the court within 15 days, which could be in the form of an indictment or a final report,” the officer said.
The statement came amid ongoing protests by Indian wrestlers against Mr Singh. The athletes, including Olympic medalists Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia and Asian Games gold medalist Vinesh Phogat, had launched the campaign in January this year demanding action against Mr Singh. They allege that Mr. Singh sexually harassed several female athletes.
In a dramatic event on Tuesday, top wrestlers, accompanied by hundreds of supporters, gathered on the banks of the Ganges in Haridwar. They threatened to dip their medals into the holy river in protest at the inaction towards Mr Singh.
However, they refrained from doing so after being persuaded by prominent farmer leader Naresh Tikait and other Khap leaders and farmers, who asked for five days to address their grievances.
Naresh Tikait, leader of the Balyan Khap and leader of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), has announced that a “mahapanchayat” will be held in the Sauram village of Muzaffarnagar on Thursday to discuss the ongoing protests in detail.
Several representatives of different khaps and their leaders hailing from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Delhi are expected to participate in the mahapanchayat to decide the next course of action in the struggle manifestation.
Several wrestlers were arrested by Delhi police on Sunday and FIRs were filed against them for violating law and order. Their campsite was also emptied when they attempted to head towards the new Indian parliament building.
Internationally, United World Wrestling (UWW), the sport’s governing body, issued a statement condemning the detention of the wrestlers and criticizing the “lack of results” in the investigations against Mr Singh. The UWW reminded the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) of its promise to hold new elections for the WFI within 45 days and warned that failure to do so could lead to the suspension of the federation.