Jagbir Singh, an international wrestling referee, has alleged that he witnessed inappropriate behavior by Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the chief of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and BJP MP, towards female wrestlers on multiple occasions.
Singh made these claims during an interview with India Today news channel. The revelation emerged amidst protests by top Indian wrestlers, including Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, and Bajrang Punia, who have demanded Singh’s arrest for allegedly sexually harassing female grapplers. The WFI chief has rejected the charges.
The incident Singh mentioned allegedly occurred during the Asian Championship Wrestling trials on March 25, 2022, in Lucknow. Brij Bhushan has denied these allegations.
“During the photo session, a female wrestler was standing next to the WFI chief. However, soon after, the woman expressed discomfort about something and everyone’s attention turned to her. She freed herself, pushed away, mumbled and moved away,” the referee told the news channel.
“When we looked at what was happening, we saw that Brij Bhushan had placed his hands inappropriately on the female wrestler,” he said, adding the wrestler then moved to another spot.
Singh confirmed the wrestler’s claims to the Delhi Police. In the FIR, he stated that Bri Bhushan forcefully grabbed her shoulder, but she managed to break free.
“I saw him (Brij Bhushan) standing next to her. She freed herself, pushed away, mumbled and moved away. She was standing next to the president, but then came to the front. I saw how this woman wrestler was reacting and she was uncomfortable. Uske saath kuchh galat hua (Something wrong happened to her). I didn’t see him doing the act but uske haath pair khoob chalte the, idhar aa ja. Idhar khadi ho ja (He used to keep touching wrestlers saying come here, come and stand here). From her (complainant’s) behaviour, it was clear something was wrong that day (during the photo session),” The Indian Express Jagbir Singh as saying.
Jagbir Singh also told India Today that Brij Bhushan had behaved inappropriately with underage female wrestlers during the Junior Asia Championship in Thailand in 2013. According to Singh, Bhushan promised the girls Indian food for dinner at their hotel but instead introduced his intoxicated friends who touched the young girls inappropriately.
Singh described the incident as a distressing nightmare.