Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal on Wednesday slammed the government over the issue of allegations of sexual harassment levelled by women wrestlers against WFI president Brij Bhushan Singh, and asked whether POCSO and immediate arrest apply to all accused other than Singh because he belongs to the BJP.
The attack by Sibal, a senior advocate who represented the protesting wrestlers in the Supreme Court, came a day after the matter escalated as the wrestlers reached Haridwar on the banks of the Ganga, threatening to immerse their World and Olympic medals in the holy river but stopped short of doing so after being convinced by farmer leaders who sought five days to address their grievances.
Olympic medallists Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia and Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat arrived at Har ki Pauri to protest the inaction against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Singh, who has allegedly sexually harassed several women grapplers.
In a tweet, Sibal said, “Brij Bhushan Singh: Does application of POCSO and immediate arrest after 164 statements apply to all accused other than Brij Bhushan because he: 1) Belongs to BJP 2) iconic women wrestlers don’t matter; votes matter! 3) Government doesn’t care.
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“Is this my new India,” Sibal asked.
Sibal, who was a Union minister during the UPA 1 and UPA 2 governments, quit the Congress in May last year and was elected to the Rajya Sabha as an Independent member with the Samajwadi Party’s support. He recently floated the non-electoral platform ‘Insaaf’, aimed at fighting injustice.
Last month, the Delhi Police registered two FIRs against Singh.
The first FIR pertains to allegations levelled by a minor which has been registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act along with relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code concerning outraging modesty. The second one has been registered over complaints by adults pertaining to outraging modesty.
On May 28, the Delhi Police detained Malik along with world championships bronze winner Vinesh and Olympic medallist Bajrang, and later filed FIRs against the wrestlers for violation of law and order.