A video of BJP MP and Wrestling Federation of India (WFI)'s chief Brijbhushan Sharan Singh slapping a wrestler on stage is going viral following the sexual harassment claims made against him recently. BOOM found that the video is from an U-15 National Wrestling Championship tournament in Ranchi, which was held in 2021.
Several high-profile wrestlers including Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, and Ravi Dahiya participated in a three-day protest at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, demanding BJP MP and WFI chief Brijbhushan Sharan Singh to resign. The wrestlers have accused Singh and several coaches of sexual harassment. Singh has been heading the WFI since 2011, when he was elected unopposed.
Following these claims, a video of Singh slapping a wrestler on stage at an event has been going viral on social media as recent.
It is being shared with the caption, "BJP MP and President of Wrestling Federation of India, Brij Bhushan Sharan, who has been accused of sexual harassment, slapping a wrestler on stage for asking questions."
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We also received this video on our Whatsapp Tipline (7700906588) with a claim in Kannada that can be translated as, "BJP MP & Wrestling Federation President Brij Bhushan Saran slapped wrestler on stage for asking questions... This MP has been accused of sexual harassment by many women wrestlers... is this true?"
BOOM found that the video is originally from 2021, when Brijbhushan Sharan Singh had slapped a wrestler who asked him to allow him to participate in the U-15 National Wrestling Championship despite not qualifying for the category. The wrestler's continued persuasion angered Singh who slapped him twice at the Shaheed Ganpat Rai Indoor Stadium, Ranchi on December 17, 2021.
A keyword search of the incident on Google led us to several reports about the incidents published on December 18, 2021.
According to a report by the Times of India, the unidentified wrestler from Uttar Pradesh wanted to compete in the under-15 category despite being over 15 years of age. After lodging a complaint, he stepped on to the stage and appealed directly to Brijbhushan Singh to let him participate. That is when Singh slapped him twice before leaving the stage.
Sports Minister Anurag Thakur addressed a press briefing at his residence where he announced that an oversight committee will be set up to investigate the allegations against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. He also informed that Singh will step down as the chief of the WFI till the committee presents its findings.