Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and other star wrestlers spoke their hearts out in the press conference at Jantar Mantar as they continued their protest against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. On Sunday, the star wrestlers re-started their protest against Brij Bhushan and said that they took the step after alleging that no action has been taken against the WFI chief.
Seven women wrestlers have lodged a formal complaint against Brij Bhushan, alleging sexual harassment. However, no official FIR has been filed so far.
A protesting wrestler, earlier, said that as many as seven women grapplers including a minor have tried to lodge a complaint at Parliament Street Thana but allege that the police is refusing to file an FIR.
“Two days ago we gave a complaint at CP Police Station but FIR hasn’t been registered yet. Seven women including one minor (And the case is under POSCO) gave a complaint against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh for sexual assault. We were told to talk on Monday but it’s already two days,” Sakshi Malik said during a press conference on Sunday,
“We have been waiting for more than two and a half months. We had a belief that the government will support us. But we didn’t get any update regarding the report and whether it has been submitted or not. People have started thinking that we lied before and our complaint was false, we can’t take it as we live our lives with truth and we will win the battle,” she added.
“Harassment cases are always sensitive and police should not take much time as one girl is minor.”
Bajrang Punia, “The federation is organising nationals, office is running then where are players being heard? We have submitted a complaint to file an FIR. It will be clear soon enough who is lying. They were questioning why we aren’t filing FIR but even after seven girls have lodged a complaint, there has been no action.
When asked if the wrestlers will leave the protest if FIR is filed, Bajrang replied, “Till the time an arrest is made, we will stay here.”
Vinesh Phogat has demanded action against the accused, claiming the wrestlers have suffered mentally for the past three months.
“We want the Police to file the FIR and action should be taken against the accused. We have been going through mental torcher in the last three months. We are international-level athletes and if we are not safe then how a common girl can feel safe. We all know the accused is very strong but we want justice. We will sleep and eat here only until we get justice,” Vinesh said.
“We have been trying to contact the committee and Sports Ministry for the past three months but we have not got any response from them,” she added.
Sakshi said, “We believe that the government will listen to us and they will start the investigation against the accused” and urged PM Narendra Modi to, “Please listen to us, and (ensure) wrestling gets in safe hands. We have given our statements to the committee but no action has been taken against the accused.”
“People have started saying we are doing this get limelight as we are finished. We all are in our prime and have won medals for the country in the recent time” Sakshi added.
Sakshi and Vinesh were reduced to tears while interacting with the media.
Vinesh said, “If we are lying Narco Test should be done.”
Vinesh and Sakshi refused to reveal the name of the wrestlers who filed the complaint and suggested it includes both international and national level wrestlers.
Earlier, in January, the wrestlers, including Vinesh, Bajrang, Sakshi and Ravi Dahiya, ended their three-day-long sit-in protest at Jantar Mantar after a breakthrough was achieved during the second round of talks with Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur. However, after almost three months they have decided to re-protest.
Meanwhile, an Oversight Committee under the chairmanship of legendary boxer MC Mary Kom is still looking into the allegations levelled by the wrestlers against WFI, its president and coaching staff of mental and sexual harassment, earlier this year.
The Committee is also looking after the day-to-day functioning of the federation as Brij Bhushan was asked by the Sports Ministry to step aside.
Brij Bhushan had appeared before the government-appointed oversight committee, which is investigating into sexual abuse allegations against him, and he outrightly rejected all the charges.
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