The tussle between some of the country’s ace wrestlers and Wrestling Federation chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh got a twist on Monday after reports that the minor who accused him of sexual harassment has withdrawn her complaint. But in an exclusive interview with NDTV, protesting wrestler and Olympian Bajrang Punia denied the reports. Earlier, the girl’s father had told NDTV that the reports are completely baseless.
Bajrang Punia took a shot at “sources” quoted by the reports, who apparently claimed that the girl has withdrawn her complaint.
“Should the country trust the girl’s father, who said they have not withdrawn any complaint or statement, or the so-called sources,” he told NDTV. “We spoke to him (the girl’s father) and he has denied it,” he added.
The minor’s complaint had led to the filing of a case under POCSO — the stringent law against sexual assault on children — against the BJP MP on April 29, months after the wrestlers raised the issue.
Another case was filed too, following complaints by six other wrestlers. The cases were filed after the Supreme Court issued a notice to the Delhi Police.
Over the weekend, reports by some sections of media claimed that the minor has withdrawn the case on June 2. Her statement was recorded before a magistrate, reports said, claiming her father and grandfather, who had lodged the FIR, were aware of it, as they had accompanied her at the time.
The wrestlers have been on protest mode since April, demanding the arrest of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
On Saturday, some of the wrestlers had an hour-long meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Besides Mr Punia, Sakshee Malikkh, Sangita Phogat and Satyawart Kadian were present at the meeting.
Today, Mr Punia denied rumours that the wrestlers have reached a settlement with the government. “The athletes aren’t satisfied with the government’s response, neither is the government agreeing with our demands,” he said.
Mr Shah had apparently asked the wrestlers to allow the law to “take its own course”.
Mr Punia said they had asked the minister why Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh was not arrested yet and whether he was in fact “being shielded”. Mr Shah, he said, assured them that “they were discussing it and will definitely take action”.
Mr Punia, however, added that they were not about to end their protest on the basis of the government’s assurances and were in fact, planning fresh strategy.