DC Edit | Probe Brij Bhushan case swiftly

Strange are the ways of men when it comes to handling charges of sexual harassment against one of their own. While denial is the first reaction, it can also lead to victim shaming and various other tactics to deflect the issue.

That it is never too late to nail a sexual offender is a truism best served in the case of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, six-time BJP MP and for long president of the wrestling federation against whom a string of allegations came up, leading to dramatic demonstrations led by women wrestlers.

Only this month did a Delhi court order the framing of charges against the former wrestling federation chief saying that there is sufficient evidence on record to frame charges, thus paving the way for commencing the trial against him.

Thirty Indian wrestlers, among them many who had won medals in international competition, had staged a sit-in as long ago as January 2023, protesting against Brij Bhushan and other coaches for repeatedly harassing female players for years.

Given the importance of the principal accused in the election scheme of things as he wielded considerable political clout in his UP base, the government and the ruling party ignored the protests, even working to choke them. This was a classic example of the establishment standing behind an influential person regardless of the seriousness of the charges made against him.

Things seemed to change only after the BJP decided not to field Brij Bhushan again and opted for his son as candidate in the same Kaiserganj seat. This came long after a proxy of the MP was elected as chief of the federation whose inner workings had caused such a storm.

While the Delhi police had filed a chargesheet under sections dealing with sexual harassment, criminal intimidation and stalking involving five female wrestlers as long ago as June 2023, only nearly a year later has judicial action on criminal grounds begun.

The least people can expect is that such charges of sexual harassment of any person, male or female, be taken seriously and an investigation ordered quickly, with guilt or innocence established soon rather than the issue stretched out over years. This is seen in too many cases, including the sensational one of the father-son Revanna duo in Karnataka.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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