Skip to main content

Vulnerable, minors being pressured to change sexual harassment charge: Women groups

Counterview Desk 

In a collective statement, over a dozen women and human rights organisations, condemning “the state repression and police atrocities” on the wrestlers in their struggle for justice against sexual harassment, have demanded end the culture of impunity and arrest of accused Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh immediately.
Regretting that India has “no witness protection programme”, the statement says that under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), once an offence has been committed, especially after a statement in front of a magistrate, “an arrest is imperative.”
However, it regrets, “Since the primary witnesses are minors, they are vulnerable to pressure. Despite these factors, the accused Brij Bhushan Singh enjoyed absolute impunity and was not arrested.” As a consequence, five weeks after the FIR was lodged, it on the 2nd of June, “a second statement was given by the minor to the magistrate contradicting her original statement.”

Text:

We the undersigned women and human rights organisations condemn the way the Delhi Police, Home Minister Amit Shah and the BJP led Central Government at the highest level have managed to subvert the law, by keeping the erstwhile president of the Wrestling Federation of India, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, out of police custody, despite being an accused of sexual harassment by women wrestlers, including a minor.
It is well known that the powerful and well connected, including members of the legislature and godmen, can manipulate the law through various tactics including intimidating witnesses. In cases of sexual harassment and assault, the complainants are often forced to change their statements. The pressure is so high that the families succumb, and the accused manage to walk away unscathed.
In the case of the wrestlers, the father of the minor had explicitly stated in the Supreme Court that Brij Bhushan Singh was powerful and had requested protection. He feared that there would be intimidation and pressure. The minor, who is the main witness in the FIR 0077/ 2023 filed at police station Connaught Place, u/s 354, 354 (A), 354 (D)/ 34 of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) had also given a statement under oath to a magistrate in May 2023.
In POCSO there is a presumption that the offence has been committed, especially after a statement in front of a magistrate. Therefore, an arrest is imperative. Since the primary witnesses are minors, they are vulnerable to pressure. Despite these factors, the accused Brij Bhushan Singh enjoyed absolute impunity and was not arrested. The consequence of not making an immediate arrest has been that five weeks after the FIR was lodged, it is alleged that on the 2nd of June, a second statement was given by the minor to the magistrate contradicting her original statement.
We are very clear that it is for a court of law to independently monitor the investigation and come to a just conclusion. However, we would like to state that this country has no witness protection programme and once again the criminal justice system has failed our women struggling for justice.
In the meanwhile, the Delhi Police must continue the investigation in a fair and just manner and immediately arrest Brij Bhushan Singh and file strong chargesheets, including the second FIR 0078/ 2023, u/s 354, 354 (A), 354 (D)/ 34, where six women wrestlers are the complainants.
The state is traumatising wrestlers in selection for forthcoming sporting events and the threat related to their jobs in Railways
We demand that action be taken against the Delhi Police for the brutal violence unleashed on the wrestlers on 28 May 2023. The police broke up the protest with excessive force, detained the wrestlers and evicted them from Jantar Mantar. They continue to be named as offenders in FIR number 60/2023, Parliament Street Police Station. We demand its immediate closure.
It is unfortunate that the state, instead of helping the wrestlers who have won many laurels for India, is traumatising them physically and emotionally, including in selection for forthcoming sporting events and the threat related to their jobs in the Indian Railways.
It is a moment of deep anguish that despite the last five decades of jurisprudence to strengthen the law against sexual violence and enable that complainants can fight for justice, the developments in the wrestler’s case shows us how pervasive the culture of impunity is deeply embedded and reinforced by the BJP.
We express our outrage and condemn the support that the accused Brij Bhushan Singh has from the BJP, that he will be allowed to address forthcoming BJP rallies in Kaiserganj and other cities in UP. Such public glorification and legitimacy should be stopped now as it would be disastrous and demotivate women fighting rape and sexual violence all over the country.
The women’s movement and other social movements are prepared to take on the present challenges. We will not step back, instead fight for our rights to be preserved, which must start with the arrest of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh before more witnesses are intimidated. The fight for justice and dignity of our wrestlers, is not their fight alone, but a fight to implement the rule of law.

Comments

TRENDING

The Vaccine War fails to reveal: Jabs not one of Indian scientists' 'proud' achievements

By Bhaskaran Raman*  On 28 Sep 2023, the movie “The Vaccine War” by Vivek Agnihotri was released internationally, as the story behind India’s Covid-19 vaccine development. While there will be many a review written, as for other movies, a technical review is important, as the film is supposed to be fact-based, on the science and scientists behind the science.

Insider plot to kill Deendayal Upadhyay? What RSS pracharak Balraj Madhok said

By Shamsul Islam*  Balraj Madhok's died on May 2, 2016 ending an era of old guards of Hindutva politics. A senior RSS pracharak till his death was paid handsome tributes by the RSS leaders including PM Modi, himself a senior pracharak, for being a "stalwart leader of Jan Sangh. Balraj Madhok ji's ideological commitment was strong and clarity of thought immense. He was selflessly devoted to the nation and society. I had the good fortune of interacting with Balraj Madhok ji on many occasions". The RSS also issued a formal condolence message signed by the Supremo Mohan Bhagwat on behalf of all swayamsevaks, referring to his contribution of commitment to nation and society. He was a leading RSS pracharak on whom his organization relied for initiating prominent Hindutva projects. But today nobody in the RSS-BJP top hierarchy remembers/talks about Madhok as he was an insider chronicler of the immense degeneration which was spreading as an epidemic in the high echelons of th

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Why is green revolution harmful for nutrition, food safety, environment, climate change

By Bharat Dogra*  A lie repeated a hundred times will not turn a lie into a truth. The big media should realize this and stop perpetuating the lie of the green revolution saving India from hunger, long after the world has awakened to the reality of how harmful the green revolution has been from the point of nutrition, food safety, environment and climate change.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Govt of India argument 'unscientific, it lied in SC': GM mustard environmental release

Counterview Desk  The advocacy group Coalition for a GM-Free India has urged the Supreme Court of India to pass orders to implement the unanimous recommendations of the five independent experts of the Court’s Technical Expert Committee, including the Government  of India’s experts. 

Busy in political event, Gujarat govt 'evaded' plans to reduce massive Narmada floods

Counterview Desk  Farmer rights group Khedut Ekta Manch Gujarat in a letter to Bhupendrabhai Patel, chief minister, with copies sent to the officials concerned, has asked the Gujarat government to form an independent committee to investigate the recent massive flooding in Narmada, even as seeking proper compensation to those affected by the disaster, many of whom are farmers.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.