When you recall the demonstrative alacrity with which Narendra Modi greets those who return from abroad with international laurels, you would have thought that the wrestlers’ plight would have brought him out to be by their side, leaving electioneering to satraps.
If memory does not fail, it was in a rally in Panipat, Haryana, that the expansive prime minister once raised the slogan, “Beti bachao, beti padhao (Protect and educate daughters)”.
Well, two of Haryana’s world-renowned daughters – Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik – along with other international medal-winning wrestlers, are once again obliged to be protesting on a Jantar Mantar pavement in the capital city of New Delhi against, as they have been claiming, persistent sexual harassment of women wrestlers by the chief of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, six times member of parliament from the ruling BJP.
Welcome to “party with a difference” that sets high store by the so-high-minded values of Sanatan Dharma.
When you recall with what demonstrative alacrity Narendra Modi greets such ones when they return from abroad with international laurels, you would have thought that their shaming plight would have brought him out to be by their side, leaving electioneering to satraps.
Far from any such thing, these national treasures have not succeeded in persuading the Delhi Police even to file a mandatory FIR in the matter.
Given that one of the seven complaining daughters of India is a minor, inviting the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act provisiona, the refusal by the Delhi police to file a first information report (FIR) points but to one thing – that the police may not be as “free” an agent as we are asked to believe.
Is it to be thought that the all-knowing numero uno has not heard of this matter yet?
The more fool you if you so believe.
After their initial protest at Jantar Mantar when they scrupulously disallowed any “political” agent to use their platform, a Committee was set up to look into their complaint.
How them committees come to the rescue of the dissembling state you may not wonder.
The Committees’ Report, unsurprisingly, remains under wraps, barring the leak that it has skirted the specific issue of their complaint against the chief, Brij Bhushan, and recommended closer interaction between players and administration.
Was there ever a more familiar non-sequitur?
The complainants have had no choice but to approach the top court, which, upon hearing the redoubtable Kapil Sibal, has encouragingly observed that the matter is a “serious” one, and issued notices to the Delhi Police and the Wrestling Federation, returnable on Friday, April 28.
Long live the Supreme Court.
One may ask, as these so-distinguished daughters of India who have brought glory to Bharat hold back their tears, sitting and sleeping on a city pavement, where are the thousands who once went to greet them on their triumphant return from international wrestling events?
Were these fair-weather followers who appear when the going is good, and disappear when the clouds gather, especially the dark ones that challenge the sunny, vote-catching affirmations of the powers that be?
How many Bharatis truly do care for daughters, especially when not their own, and still more especially when the wolves who prey on them wear official lapels on their patriotic hearts?
Most heinously, news is that under the watch of this federation chief, who was once also an accused under the stringent TADA law, hoodlums are busy threatening the girls whose names have come to be leaked unlawfully.
Reports suggest that they are sought to be “persuaded” in every conceivable way to drop their allegations, or else.
And the likes of Phogat and Malik are sought to be maligned as wrestlers who are past their prime and thus busy calumniating the federation chief; the fact is that these wrestlers continue to be in prime standing and performance.
Their request that the chief be subjected to a narco test, one that they are willing to be so subjected to themselves, so that the truth be out thus far finds no takers.
Is it not time that the long-standing sordid control of entrenched politicians over India’s sports federations be ended, and outstanding sportswomen and sportsmen be asked to take over the running of these federations?
Know that the stakes, both financially and politically, are too high for such a thing to happen any time soon.
Of course, had this been the case of a Suresh Kalmadi (remember Commonwealth Games?) instead of a Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, the latter’s party would have gone to town to seek his Congress head.
Do recall how the Delhi Police scooted with dispatch to 12, Tughlak Road, once the residence of Rahul Gandhi, in order to seek an explanation from him on a remark he had made at the conclusion of his Bharat Jodo Yatra in Srinagar.
They did so in their grave anxiety to follow up on his information that some women he said had shared with him there, to the effect that they had been sexually harassed.
Thus, the great protector of women, the Delhi Police, lost no time to dash to him so as to efficiently investigate the matter and punish the guilty.
You may well ask why it is that the publicly voiced plight of India’s women wrestlers, put in written complaint to the police, has not drawn the same sort of anxiety on behalf of the betis of India (and famous ones at that), and prompted the police to make a dash for Jantar Mantar as they did to 12, Tughlak Road.
Is it, after all, yet again the case where the establishment says “show me the face (especially of the culprit) and I will show you the law”?
Welcome to the largest democracy in the world which follows the constitutional order with judicious selectivity, after all.
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