Wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and others protesting at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar. Tuesday marks the third day of the protest. (File photo: PTI)
Indian Wrestlers Protest Updates: The wrestlers intensified their protest again on Sunday after filing a police complaint, stating that seven female wrestlers, including one minor, were ‘harassed and exploited’ by Brij Bhushan
Wrestlers Protest Updates: Hours after Olympic medalist Bajrang Punia “invited all parties” to join their agitation, representatives of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) visited Jantar Mantar and interacted with the wrestlers who have been protesting against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
SAI officials were seen holding discussions with wrestlers. “I had come to meet wrestlers and listen to them. I will not say anything on demands,” a SAI official told reporters. Tuesday marks the third day of the protest.
Meanwhile, the Union sports ministry has declared the Wrestling Federation of India’s (WFI) proposed elections on May 7 as “null and void”. The latest development is being seen as a move to pacify the agitating wrestlers, who have resumed their sit-in protest after a gap of three months/
The ministry on Monday requested the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to form a transitory or ad-hoc committee to run the day-to-day affairs of the WFI and to conduct elections to its new executive committee within 45 days of the formation of such interim body.
“Since wrestling is an Olympic sport and WFI is an affiliate member of the IOA and taking note of the current situation of administrative void in WFI, it becomes incumbent on the part of the IOA to make suitable interim arrangements for managing WFI so that sportspersons of wrestling discipline do not suffer in any manner,” a Times of India report quoted the ministry’s letter.
Who are the Protesters and why the Protest?
The wrestlers present at the protest site include Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, Sangeeta Phogat, Satyawart Kadian, Somveer Rathi and Jitender Kinha, among others.
They held a sit-in protest in Jantar Mantar in January this year but ended it after the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports had announced the formation of an ‘oversight committee’ to probe the allegations levelled against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and other coaches. The committee was tasked with submitting a report on the issue to the ministry.
The protesters, however, intensified their protest again on Sunday after filing a complaint at the Connaught Place police station on Friday stating that seven female wrestlers, including one minor, were “harassed and exploited” by Brij Bhushan in his capacity as WFI chief.
Bajrang Punia said that this time “all parties are welcome” to join them and they won’t back down till action is taken against the BJP MP. “It’s been more than 48 hours since the complaint was made, but an FIR has not been filed yet,” Punia was quoted by ANI.
The ace wrestler said that this time they will not turn down anyone, and whoever wants to support their protest could come and join them. “…This time, all parties are welcome to join our protest whether it is BJP, Congress, AAP or any other party…..we’re not affiliated with any party…,” he said.
Delhi Commission For Women (DCW) has issued a notice to Delhi Police to register an FIR on the issue.
Who All Have Lent Support to Protest?
Congress: The All India Mahila Congress on Monday joined the protesting wrestlers. Mahila Congress president Netta D’Souza, who was spotted wiping tears of Sakshi Malik at the protest site, said that the prime minister was asking the nation to support sportspersons and was himself ignoring the sexual crimes against women wrestlers.
“Why is the government protecting the BJP MP instead of punishing him? The Beti Bachao slogan of the BJP sounds hollow when you see sexual predators in the BJP ranks,” she was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.
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