Wrestlers protesting against the former chief of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, have accused him of sexual harassment and criminal intimidation. They have been sitting in protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi since January, demanding an impartial probe into their allegations. The athletes have also claimed that Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur sat with them only briefly during a meeting and that they felt intimidated at times.
Anurag Thakur has recently broken his silence on the ongoing protest and reiterated the government’s commitment to an impartial probe. Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, the minister said that the government had allowed all the protesting wrestlers to present their cases before the oversight panel. He also said that there were no restrictions on anyone who wanted to present their version before the committee and that the government had even increased the timeline of the probe.
Anurag Thakur added that if anyone wants to file an FIR, they can do so anywhere and that it should not matter how old the case may be. He also said that the Delhi Police would conduct a preliminary inquiry and then take the next step.
Star wrestlers, including World Championships medal winner Vinesh Phogat and Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik, have resumed their protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi from Sunday. They have accused Brij Bhushan of sexual harassment and criminal intimidation.
The wrestlers’ statement comes after a long period of protests and discussions with the government. They had earlier demanded that Babita Phogat be added to the oversight panel, and the government had agreed to their request.
The situation remains tense, with the athletes continuing their protest until their demands are met. It is a challenging time for the Indian sports community, and it remains to be seen how the government will respond to the wrestlers’ demands for an impartial probe into their allegations.