Statement of Indian Workers Association (Great Britain), 15 May, 2023
The Indian state has been ignoring the complaints of the women wrestlers about their sexual harassment by the president of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is also a BJP MP from UP. The wrestlers have been protesting at Jantar Mantar in Delhi since 23 April, demanding the removal of the WFI president from his position and his prosecution.
After the wrestlers lodged a complaint with the police in January this year, they had to move the Supreme Court for getting the FIR registered against Brij Bhushan, as the police would not even do that. The government has still not made public the report of the investigation by the Indian Olympic Association into this matter. According to the wrestlers, they had complained to the Prime Minister and the sports minister about Brij Bhushan’s behaviour and were promised action, but to no avail. They had to resort to renewing their protest after being frustrated by the inaction of the police and the government.
Now the wrestlers have announced that they will continue the protest until Brij Bhushan is removed from his post and is charged and arrested.
What has been the attitude of the authorities towards the protesting wrestlers? While the Supreme Court had issued instructions not to reveal the names of the complainants, one of whom is a juvenile, at the same time, the families of the wrestlers are being threatened and asked to withdraw the complaints. Who revealed the identity of the complainants? The university students who came to support the protesters were asked to disperse within five minutes saying that section 144 was in place. The police beat up the protesters when they tried to bring folding beds to the site, as the place was flooded because of heavy rain.
The wrestlers have won widespread support amongst all sections of society. Many women’s organisations declared their support. The peasant’s organisation Samyukta Kisan Morcha passed a resolution in their support and went to the protest site. Indian people in foreign countries have circulated videos informing the public about the protest by the women wrestlers against their sexual harassment.
The present BJP government led by Narendra Modi serves the interests of the monopoly capitalists. While issuing slogans like ‘beti bachao, beti padhao’ (educate the daughter, save the daughter), it is condoning sexual harassment in practice.
The Indian Workers Association (GB) condemns the callous attitude taken by the government and the sports minister and their attempts to defend their party MP. We condemn the Indian police for dragging their feet in taking up the case and getting Brij Bhushan punished for his crime. We call for justice for the sportswomen being harassed. We call upon all justice loving people to raise their voice against the system that is condoning sexual harassment.
Indian police must take action against the WFI chieftain!
The Indian government must defend the dignity of the wrestlers who have brought fame to the country!
Justice for the women wrestlers!
Indian Workers Association (Great Britain)