Union Minister Anurag Thakur has said that he has invited India’s ace wrestlers who have been protesting against Brij Bhushan Singh, the president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), regarding allegations of sexual harassment, for the discussion.
Taking to Twitter, Thakur said that the government is willing to have a discussion with the wrestlers on their issues. https://twitter.com/ianuragthakur/status/1666162525019443200
“The government is willing to have a discussion with the wrestlers on their issues. I have once again invited the wrestlers for the same,” he said in his tweet on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia, who have been leading the protest against the country’s wrestling federation Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, have resumed their duties in the Railways.
Olympians Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat have been protesting since the beginning of this year in order to press for the removal and arrest of the WFI chief over allegations of sexual harassment.
On May 28, wrestlers had planned a march and protest in front of the new Parliament, despite the imposition of Section 144 in the area. They were detained on their way by the Delhi police and FIR was filed against them under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 147, 149, 186, 188, 332, 353, Section 3 of the PDPP Act. The protest site was also cleared by the Delhi Police.
Following their removal from Jantar Mantar, Wrestlers arrived in Haridwar to immerse their medals in the Ganga. However, they later issue a five-day ultimatum to the Centre to act against the WFI chief following the intervention of farmer leader Naresh Tikait.
The Delhi Police have registered 10 complaints and two FIRs against WFI chief Brij Bhusan Singh.
The first FIR relates to allegations by a minor and has been registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, while the second FIR is related to outraging modesty.
WFI chief has however said that he will “hang himself” if even one accusation against him is true.
“I will hang myself even if one allegation against me turns out to be true. I stand by my statement..,” said Brij Bhushan to the media in Gonda after the FIRs.
United World Wrestling (UWW) has condemned the detention of wrestlers during their march to the new parliament building. It has demanded action against the WFI chief.
“UWW firmly condemns the treatment and detention of the wrestlers. It expresses its disappointment over the lack of results of the investigations so far. UWW urges the relevant authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the allegations,” the world wrestling body said in a statement.
“UWW will request further information about the next elective general assembly from the 10A and the Ad-hoc Committee of the WFI. The 45-day deadline that was initially set to hold this elective assembly shall be respected. Failing to do so may lead UWW to suspend the federation, thereby forcing the athletes to compete under a neutral flag. It is reminded that UWW already took a measure in this situation by reallocating the Asian Championship planned in New Delhi earlier this year,” it added.
“For several months, United World Wrestling has followed with great concern the situation in India where wrestlers are protesting over allegations of abuse and harassment by the President of the
Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). It has taken due note that the WFI President has been put aside at an early stage and is currently not in charge,” UWW stated further.
“As it has already done since the beginning of this situation, UWW will hold a meeting with the wrestlers to inquire about their condition and safety and reconfirm our support for a fair and just resolution of their concerns,” it added.