New Delhi : With serious allegations of sexual harassment and exploitation against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) MP Brijbhushan Sharan Singh by the female wrestlers, the Union Sports Ministry set up a 6-member committee in January, which started its hearings in February. The Oversight Committee led by MC Mary Kom has heard a total of 12 people testifying up till now. However, the people testifying have not been under secure conditions and spaces. This has been for numerous reasons.
Firstly, the victims who are testifying had put up a request for the presence of only women members of the Committee for comfort reasons but this request was turned down by the authorities. Secondly, the location for the hearings is the Sports Authority of India (SAI); the victims told some news sources that the waiting area and lobby of the SAI building were always filled with coaches and staff members of the WFI who had close relations with the accused Brijbhushan Sharan Singh. This led to an atmosphere that was “intimidating”.
Next, one of the wrestlers told the media that one of the committee members regarded their allegation as a “misconstrued” opinion and that Mr Singh is actually like a “father figure” for them. Lately, the victims have been asked to provide “video or audio proof” of their harassment.
These statements and the plight of these victims are not being taken seriously. The inhumane treatment they have received from their coaches and their elected leaders is shameful. Today, the fight is no more led by champions of the country, it is led by the daughters of the country.