SHOCKING twist: Father of minor wrestler admits filing false sexual harassment complaint against Brij Bhushan
The shocking revelation made by the father significantly weakens the case against WFI Chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who has been the target of wrestlers' unrelenting protest for the past six months.
In a shocking twist to the ongoing drama over wrestlers protesting against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the father of the minor grappler on Thursday claimed that they intentionally made a false police report alleging sexual harassment against the WFI president to retaliate against him for what they believed to be an injustice done to the daughter.
The shocking revelation by the father significantly weakens the case against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who has endured unrelenting protest from wrestlers who have accused him of sexual harassment for the past six months. The minor's complaint has also prompted a POCSO Act probe.
When asked why he is changing his version now, the father of minor wrestler told PTI news agency, "It's better that truth comes out now instead of court," he told PTI when asked why he is changing his story now."
He added, "Now that interactions have started, the government has promised fair enquiry into my daughter's defeat (in Asian U17 championship trials) last year, so it is also my duty that I rectify my mistake."
In addition, he commented on the reasons why he and his daughter harboured resentment against Brij Bhushan, who strongly disputed all claims of sexual harassment, including those made against the minor.
The 2022 Under 17 Asian Championship trials in Lucknow, where the minor lost the final and was not chosen for the Indian squad, are where the hostility began. They ascribed Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh's decision to the referee.
"I was filled with rage my child's one-year hard work had gone down the drain because of that referee's decision in the final and I decided to take revenge," he added.
Wrestlers aim to take part in Asian Games trials, say need a month and half to prepare
Meanwhile, the wrestlers announced their intention to compete in the Asian Games selection trials on Thursday, a day after calling off their protest against outgoing WFI chief Brij Bhushan after receiving a guarantee from the government.
Anurag Thakur, India's sports minister, stated on Thursday that all national federations want to complete the Asian Games rosters far ahead of the deadline of July 15 set by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).
China's Hangzhou is scheduled to host the Games from September 23 to October 8.
On April 27, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) announced the formation of a temporary, three-person commission.
The selection trials will most likely take place in the final week of June and will be overseen by the two-person ad hoc committee of Bhupender Singh Bajwa and Suma Shirur, who have been managing the day-to-day operations of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) since May 4.
The wrestlers, however, request more time to prepare for the trials.
"We want to take part in the selection trial but to prepare for it, we need at least a month and a half of training," international wrestler Satyawart Kadian, who is also Sakshi Malik's husband, told PTI on Thursday.
For the wrestlers, it will be difficult to get back into competitive mindset because some haven't wrestled since the World Championships in September of last year and others haven't competed since the Commonwealth Games in August of 2022.
Due to the protest, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia chose not to attend their international training camps in April, and the grapplers recently withdrew from a number of international competitions.
While the two central figure of the protest -- Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang and world championship medallist Vinesh -- figure in the long list, the same cannot be said about Rio Olympics bronze medallist Malik.
The wrestlers have been calling for the arrest of retiring WFI president Singh, whom they claim has sexually abused several female wrestlers, including a kid.
However, the wrestlers stopped their protest till June 15 after a lengthy discussion with Thakur on Wednesday, during which they received assurances that a chargesheet will be brought against Singh.
Thakur reaffirmed on Thursday that the demands of the wrestlers, including the creation of a WFI Internal Complaints Committee with a female chair, would be met.
"I said yesterday as well, we had a very positive meeting with the protesting wrestlers. All the issues that they raise we discussed and we have said that the chargesheet will be filed till June 15 and the WFI elections will take place by June 30. We want the wrestlers to return to the mat and take part in competitions," Thakur said.