When Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia sat on a dharna-demonstration at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar for a month, they mentioned fear again and again, sometimes in tears, sometimes spontaneously. Fear of losing one’s career and even losing one’s life at the cost of raising voice against sexual harassment; But that fear is mentioned.
The Indian Express has given the details of this FIR on the first page for two consecutive days. Senior Supreme Court lawyer Vrinda Grover, who has worked on several cases of violence against women, said- details of all women, including minors, repeatedly mentioned the misuse of power and authority to harass them, which is a violation of both IPC and POCSO comes under the category of crime. Seven women (wrestlers), including a minor, had filed two FIRs against Wrestling Federation President and BJP MP Braj Bhushan Sharan Singh. In the FIR, apart from Singh, several wrestlers of the wrestling federation have alleged abetment of harassment against another senior member working with them. Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and that member have denied all the allegations. According to Indira Jaisingh, senior advocate in the Supreme Court, complaints of many women against a person and the emergence of a pattern in them tells about the character of that person. Also gives credibility to the allegations of the complainants.
These two FIRs were filed not after the women wrestlers went to the police station, but in response to their petition in the Supreme Court and the court’s notice to the Delhi Police. Apart from sections 354, 354A, 354D) related to sexual harassment in the FIR, section 10 of the POCSO Act is aggravated sexual assault. These sections include trying to touch a woman without her consent with sexual intent, demanding sexual intercourse with her, making obscene talk, repeated stalking, etc.
The FIR details the different incidents of sexual harassment that took place between 2012 and 2022. Many similar things are seen in them. According to Indira Jaisingh, the similarity in the complaints cannot be considered as proof of their truth, but investigation is necessary to confirm the incident and without evidence and facts, it can be easy to prove the crime in some case and not in others. According to Vrinda Grover, it is not enough to take Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh’s statement for this investigation, his custody is necessary.
She says, to verify the details in the FIR, there is a dire need to take steps like custodial interrogation, getting call records extracted, taking statements of witnesses and confiscating phones, which the Delhi Police does not seem inclined to do. The account repeatedly mentions the supremacy and power of Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, being the president for 12 years in the administration of the Wushti federation.
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