Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on Thursday assured protesting wrestlers that stern motion could be taken if any Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) coach or official is discovered responsible. Thakur met with the wrestlers together with Babita Phogat, Sakchi malik, Bajrang Punia amongst others after their second day of protest on the Jantar Mantar over allegations of sexual misconduct by Wrestling Federation of India coached and its president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
In the meet, that began round 10 pm on Thursday evening, the protesting wrestlers demanded the resignation of Brij Bhushan and disbanding of the WFI. However, Thakur instructed them to attend for an official reply from the WFI that the sports activities ministry had sought on Wednesday. However, the wrestlers will not be able to settle at something lower than resignation of the WFI president.
The centre, in a press release on Wednesday, had made it clear that if the WFI doesn’t reply within the subsequent three days, the sports activities ministry “will proceed to initiate action against the federation in terms of the provisions of the National Sports Development Code, 2011.”
Earlier, Vinesh Phogat, the primary Indian girl wrestler to win gold in each Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, stated that they haven’t acquired any ‘passable response’ from the federal government.
“Unfortunately we did not get a satisfactory response.” “Yesterday, we had 1-2 victims amongst us but now we have 5-6 wrestlers, who were harassed (sexually). We can’t name them now, after all they are daughters and sisters of somebody. But if we are forced to disclose their identity, it will be a black day,” stated Vinesh, the two-time World Championship medallist.
“It’s not just about his (Brij Bhushan) resignation. We will send him to jail. We did not want to take the legal route, because we had hoped for resolution but if a proper solution is not provided, we will lodge FIRs against the President. We are World Championship and Olympic medallists, don’t suspect us, we are telling the truth, believe us.”
Vinesh Phogat had beforehand alleged that coaches who’re favourites of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) misbehave with ladies wrestlers and harass them. She additionally accused the WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexually exploiting ladies athletes and calling her a ‘khota sikka’ after her defeat on the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Singh has denied the allegations.
WFI Executive Meet
Also, a gathering of the Executive Committee and the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the WFI is slated to be held on January 22 in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh and its chief Singh will take part. Olympian wrestler Bajrang Punia stated: “Five to six women wrestlers are here with us who have faced these atrocities and we have evidence to prove it.”
Earlier, a number of the ace wrestlers went to workplace of Union Sports Ministry in Shashtri Bhawan for a gathering with ministry officers. However, they remained unhappy.
Olympic bronze medallist wrestler Sakshi Malik stated, “Government did not promise any action, they have only given assurance and we’re not happy with the response, we request PM sir to ensure justice.”
Former wrestler and Haryana BJP chief Babita Phogat reached the protest website on Thursday to satisfy the wrestlers as a mediator from the federal government and guaranteed the grapplers that their calls for will likely be met. “I have assured them that the government is with them. I will try that their issues are resolved today,” Babita stated.
“Babita Phogat has come from the government’s side for mediation. We will speak with her and then give more details,” wrestler Bajrang Punia stated.
With PTI and ANI inputs
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