Several top Indian wrestlers, including Olympic medalists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik, as well as World Championship medalist Vinesh Phogat, returned to New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Sunday (April 23) to protest against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and its former president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
The protest comes after seven female wrestlers filed a sexual harassment complaint against Singh at the Connaught Place police station in Central Delhi. The wrestlers are calling for an FIR to be filed based on the complaint and for a government panel report on the issue to be made public.
In a video posted by the news agency ANI, wrestler Sakshi Malik can be seen saying, “We want the report that contains the statements of the female wrestlers to be made public. It’s a sensitive issue, and one of the complainants is a minor girl.” She also added that the complainants’ names should not be revealed.
Vinesh Phogat tweeted earlier in the day, “Various female wrestlers who have brought laurels to this country have been sexually exploited and harassed by Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, President, WFI. Despite complaints on April 21, 2023, the Delhi Police is not registering the FIR.”
This is not the first time the wrestlers have protested against Singh and the WFI. Three months ago, on January 18, they first sat in protest at Jantar Mantar, where they accused Singh and the federation of sexual exploitation, mental harassment, death threats, and financial misappropriation, among other things
The wrestlers are demanding justice for themselves and for all female athletes who have faced similar harassment and exploitation. They are also calling for greater accountability and transparency in sports organizations to prevent such incidents from happening in the future.
The protest has garnered significant attention and support from the public and the media, putting pressure on the authorities to take action and address the issue of sexual harassment in sports. The wrestlers have vowed to continue their protest until their demands are met and justice is served.